In May 2017, the Burkinabe agricultural organization, ‘We are the solution! Celebrate African family farming’ held a farming workshop for female Burkinabe farmers. The workshop focused on agro-ecological food production methods and aimed to train women how to adapt their farming techniques to climate change. The movement’s coordinator Sibiri Dao, has since expanded the movement to include countries such as Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Senegal. Through this movement, Dao hopes to use women to empower local communities to practice food sovereignty and engage in more sustainable methods of agriculture. Photo Credit: L’Économiste du Faso
The Kalsaka area of Burkina Faso is famous for its gold production and for a long time, artisanal mining and family-based agricultural production co-existed. But with the entry of industrial gold-mining supported by the state, companies like Cluff Mining and Amara Mining took over large tracts of fertile land and also employed security personnel to deny local artisanal miners access to the gold fields. This has completely altered the livelihoods of these communities and more so for the women who took part in both farming and artisanal mining. Not only has the industrial production of gold contaminated and taken away their land, it has also led to the militarization of their community and the effective erasure of their age-old role in the artisanal gold production and trade.
Women play a large roll in the agricultural labor force of Burkina Faso. They are involved with sowing seeds, collecting water and wood, harvesting crops, processing grain, and preserving and processing non-timber. Despite doing so, they have limited knowledge on how to access resources and extension services such as micro-credits, land rights, access to technology and know-how. Additionally, they are also responsible for their children’s education, hygiene, and sanitation around the house. As the increasing effects of climate change loom ahead, there’s concern that women in Burkina Faso need to do more to find water and wood, with little regard for their responsibilities at home as a productive family member. Women are more likely to come in direct contact with the land as they are present from production to the processing of products. Given their relationship with agriculture, women have a more nuanced understanding of the impacts of climate change on land and community. Climate-proofed food security can only be achieved if gendered-approaches to climate adaptation are taken. In Burkina Faso, the challenge lies in lifting certain social barriers, which are rooted in tradition, religion, and culture. Photo Credit: N. Palmer (CIAT)