Ouagadougou – It is 11 AM and the sun is beating down in the village of Sanogo in the East region of Burkina Faso. Under the shade of a mango tree sits a large group, all participants in WFP Burkina Faso’s Cash for Assets programme, taking a break from the heat of the day.
This particular site, covering 33 hectares, is managed by the Projet Riz Pluvial, a government project that aims to increase rice production through improved agricultural techniques.
At this time of year, the dry season, the site’s 184 participants, 60 percent of whom are women, are constructing low earth walls, which will trap water when the rain comes, allowing the community to grow and cultivate rice.
"These populations lost a great deal during the food crisis last year. These activities are designed to help them recover, to get back on their feet,” said WFP Burkina Faso Deputy Country Director Ariane Waldvogel.
“Through Cash for Assets, the participants carry out activities to boost their food security, such as this rice production activity, and at the same time, receive a cash transfer, which can go towards their food and other basic needs,” said Waldvogel, outlining the objectives of the project.
Participants receive 1,200 CFA (around US$ 2.40) for each working day, distributed at the end of the month. This amount aims to support the participant as well as five additional family members.
During the first payment in 2013, which took place the first week of April, 21,900 participants received a total of US$ 885,815 across seven regions of Burkina Faso – Sahel, North, East, Centre North, Centre East, Centre West and the Boucle de Mouhoun.
“We used to farm this land, but we were not organized as we are today. We work in groups and produce much more rice now,” said Nombré Azara, a participant in the activity. She has seven children and her husband recently passed away.
“We keep some of the rice to eat and then sell the rest to earn some money, which we can use to buy other food such as vegetables and oil from the market. Some women have even used this money to set up a small business,” said Azara.