Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
An image of Burkina Faso Where Burkina Faso is in the world.

A land of deserts in the north, and green countryside in the south, Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa surrounded by six other countries: Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Niger.

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Compassion has been working in Burkina Faso since 2004.


There isn’t one language spoken in Burkina Faso, but an estimated 69! The Mossi language is the most common, spoken by about 40 per cent of the population.

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Hippos need to live near water deep enough to protect them from overheating and sunburn.

Most people in Burkina Faso live in the countryside rather than in cities. There are many different types of houses but traditional homes are made of mud.

Living conditions

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17.8 million

Compassion supports over 50,698 children in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso is an extremely poor country, even by west African standards. It has large amounts of gold and cotton, so should be wealthy, but isn’t.

Cotton farming, which many people work in, is affected by constant droughts and changes in the prices that other countries will pay for it. This, together with the fact that there are so many people living in Burkina Faso, means that there are not enough jobs for everyone.

Read more about why some countries have lots of valuable resources, but still remain poor.

Read Saibata Sawadogo’s story. She attends a Compassion project and is being helped out of poverty.

The first thing Saibata does when she wakes up is to run to the hen house. She opens the door and is excited to see the chicks and young guinea fowls run out to explore their surroundings. But she knows how to gather them back with handfuls of millet and sorghum. Her younger brother washes the poultry trough and gives them new water for the day. The two children watch the hens until their mother insists they eat breakfast before they set off for the farm, or Saibata, for her local Compassion project.

In class, Saibata always sits with her best friend Guestawende. Unlike Guestawende, Saibata is shy but raises her hand from time to time to answer a question -more often when she might be rewarded with a piece of chocolate! Saibata’s parents believe these classes have contributed to changing her behaviour. Her father Salam says Saibata has learned good hygiene practices that she has been passing onto the family.

The last activity Saibata and her classmates are involved with before lunch is storytelling. With their tutors, the class gathers under the shade of the tall néré tree. The class sits, forming a circle and their instructor sits in the middle. The children are invited to retell last session’s story. Most of the children love Bible stories and can easily remember those they have heard some months ago. Saibata’s favourite story is Abraham and Sarah. Today she is learning a new story about Queen Esther which she can’t wait to share with her younger brother. Saibata wonders if she too can become a queen one day.

Even though they are poor, the Sawadogos are a healthy family with high hopes for the young Saibata. “We pray that she becomes all the best we have not been able to achieve in our life. If she wants to become a farmer, we pray that she becomes a modern and much more productive one,” says Salam, her father.

Her parents know that their dream would not be possible if they were not assisted by a generous sponsor. The only English words Saibata learnt from her tutors at the project, she uses to send a sincere message to her sponsor: “Thank you!”

For God to be at work in Burkina Faso. That all of the influences that make the country so poor would change for the better.

Pray that God would forgive each of us when we’re greedy, as we can see what a terrible effect it can have on a country.

Pray for the children of Burkina Faso. That they would know God and change their country to help others out of poverty.

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West African CFA franc

Unusually, the CFA franc has a fixed exchange rate to the euro.

There are 195 Compassion projects in Burkina Faso.

How can you encourage your sponsored child?

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Why not write to them and mention some of the facts you’ve found here. Ask them questions about what it’s like to live in Burkina Faso.

The main foods eaten in Burkina Faso include cassava, peanuts, millet, bananas, avocados and plantains. Meat is not eaten very much as it is so expensive. Why not try a taste of Burkina Faso by eating some plantain?

Plantain can be cooked and eaten boiled, roasted, mashed, baked, grilled or even as plantain porridge.

Recipe: Plantain chips

Plantain chips Ingredients (adult help needed)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of finely grated lime zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 large green plantains
  1. Combine the finely grated lime zest, salt and ground cayenne pepper in a small mixing bowl. Stir well and set to one side.
  2. Fill a heavy saucepan with five centimetres of vegetable oil and place it on the stove over medium-high heat.
  3. Cut off the ends of four large green plantains while the oil is heating. Make small cuts into the skins of the plantains with a sharp knife lengthwise five times. Do not score on the natural ridges of the fruit, but in between them. Place them in a large bowl of hot water. Soak for five minutes and then drain the water. Peel the plantains and slice them lengthwise with a vegetable peeler into thin strips.
  4. Put the plantain strips into the hot oil in batches of six to eight at a time. Fry them for 30 to 40 seconds, turning frequently, until the plantain chips are golden brown in colour. Place them on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with the salt and cayenne mixture to season. Repeat until all the chips are done.

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Burkina Faso has many internationally famous film makers.

What's big and grey and has 16 wheels?

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A hippo on roller skates!

Information sources: The CIA World Fact Book 2011, Compassion International, Human Development Report, BBC, BBC Nature, Wikipedia