Landlocked Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in Africa. It sits in-between six West African nations and boasts a rich sense of cultural identity and is home to 60 different ethnic groups.
It was home to revolutionary Thomas Sankara, who challenged traditional politics during his time as president, ditching the ministerial Mercedes for a Renault, taking out a mortgage to buy a house, and cycling around the capital Ouagadougou on a rusty old bicycle.
Burkina Faso boasts one of the highest fertility rates in the world, with the average Burkinabe woman having six children. Much of the work of ICS volunteers centres on empowering women and girls.
As an ICS volunteer, you could be working with a partner with experience in championing human rights, empowering women through enterprise, or vocational or skills training.
Working for a fairer world
An estimated one in ten people in Burkina Faso have a disability. For this group, accessing everything from education and employment to healthcare and a normal family life can be a daily struggle.
International Service volunteers work with a local partner – led and staffed by people with disabilities – to defend disability rights through campaigning, outreach and education. You could be involved with delivering language training, writing fundraising bids and creating partnerships.
With another local partner, International Service volunteers promote social inclusion by arranging sports and cultural activities to challenge disability discrimination, as well as providing training, delivering marketing campaigns or developing educational materials.
Helping people to support themselves and their families
Almost half of Burkina Faso’s population live on less than £1.50 a day. International Service works with four partners to improve lives through enterprise and business.
As an International Service volunteer, you could be working with partners with expertise in training in local crafts and manufacture, supporting women and girls affected by the death of a husband or partner, fighting for farmers’ rights, or running literacy and skills training.
You’ll rely on their experience of working in-country with disadvantaged groups, supporting them through conducting research, delivering training and awareness sessions and develop partnerships.
Living in Burkina Faso
There are multiple project locations in Burkina Faso including Ziniaré, Ouagadougou, Réo, and Koudougou. All volunteers in Burkina Faso live with host families, usually with one other volunteer.
Like all ICS placements, volunteers will be expected to eat like a local. The main staple is a porridge called tô, which is cooked until it’s a thick, doughy mass. This is eaten with stew, typically made with vegetables, meat, leaves and spices.
And it’s not just what happens on placement that counts.