During a recent visit of P4P staff to a village in the north of Burkina Faso called Pella, we were able to hear the story of a woman, her cowpeas, and her bicycle. This is the story of how the sale of cowpeas, which used to be primarily harvested for home consumption, has helped Azeta Sawadogo achieve a lifelong dream to own her own bicycle. With the help of P4P and the determination of Azeta, this dream has been achieved. Below is her story, which demonstrates how P4P initiatives can help transform the lives of smallholder farmers.
“With my bike, my life has changed! My name is Azeta Sawadogo, I am 52 years old, and have 7 children. I live in Pella in northern Burkina Faso.
As a member of a women's group that is supported by the Association Formation Développment Ruralité (AFDR), I was able to get a loan from their community project (EPC Saving for Change). I was able to conduct income generating activities that gave me a profit of € 15 in 2010. I also received €40.50 from my group for our activities.
AFDR invited us to sell cowpeas to WFP, produced by many women in my group; this was a godsend for us. WFP offers favourable conditions with contracts in advance; this has allowed us to better organize ourselves to sell. And when the money came, it was a great joy. In my case the profit was the money I had been waiting for to buy my bike. When I made another €16.50 from the sale of 35 kg of cowpea, the next day, my husband went to the big city to purchase my bike. Without this money, there would have been no bike for me. Thank God, P4P was there!
This bike was my dream for many years, but I lacked money to acquire it. Since I bought it, I can do more activities throughout the day: go to the market to sell things like cowpeas and spices, go to the fields to work, and then quickly return home to prepare meals. With my bike I no longer need to walk more than 40 minutes under the hot sun to the market and then back again!
I feel proud of myself and the group of women I work with in our decision to sell cowpeas to WFP. We are now admired in the village because even male heads of households do not own a bicycle.
In 2013, our group will ask for three hectares of land in the village, we will ask this from the chief of our village so we can invest in greater cowpea production. With the support of AFDR and God, we are confident in selling to WFP and other customers, primarily because the opportunities will now come to us. Inshallah!”