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WFP Burkina Faso Embarks on Resilience-building Project with Town of Dori in Northern Burkina Faso

Participants work on the five kilometre canal that is part of a project to rehabilitate the wetland surround the town of Dori in northern Burkina Faso. WFP/Isabel Pike

WFP Burkina Faso and the municipality of Dori, the capital of the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso, are working closely on a project to rehabilitate the wetland that surrounds the town.

DORI – The rainy season has arrived in Burkina Faso and WFP Cash for Assets participants are racing against the clock to complete work on a five kilometer canal that leads from the wetland in Dori out of the town.

“We have to complete this project as quickly as possible to avoid flooding in Dori town,” said Sebogo Yaya, a technician from the Mayor’s office.

This project is part of the first phase of a project designed to protect and improve the wetland. WFP has joined forces with the local population by incorporating Cash for Assets activities into the project. Participants will receive 1,200 CFA (US$ 2.40) from WFP for each day of work.

The wetland is vital to the population of Dori and the surrounding areas, serving as a source of water for the town and a source of water and pasture for animals, essential in this pastoralist part of the country. Vegetable gardening is also carried along the edge of the marsh, generating income for the communities. It is also a nesting site for migratory birds.

However, over the years, the wetland has suffered – its capacity to hold water has shrunk as it is being silted up by sand and soil from erosion in the surrounding areas. In addition to losing its water source, if the wetland cannot hold as much water, the town is at high risk of flooding from the heavy rains that come once a year, such as those that occurred in 2012 when households were submerged under water. The floods were a breeding ground for malaria carrying mosquitos and source of waterborne diseases.

“WFP is proud to be part of this project – providing cash assistance to vulnerable communities and as a result, boosting the local economy, but also, supporting the rehabilitation of the wetland, which the people of Dori rely upon for their livelihoods,” said WFP Burkina Faso Country Director Angelline Rudakubana.

Work began six weeks ago with a bulldozer excavating the path of the canal.  Participants continued the digging, and built stone walls with stones that the participants bring from home that are then covered in wire. More than 600 people are working on this project working five to six hours a day, from 6 to 11:30 AM as it is Ramadan and nearly all participants are fasting.

One of the participants is Anata Diko, 58 years, who has eight children and many  more grandchildren. With the money she is paid for the work that she has completed, she said: “I plan to buy millet and if there is any money left over, some cloth to make into clothes.”

The millet costs 22,000 CFA (equivalent to US$ 44) for a 100 kilogram sack. Anata adds that the transportation to get it home from the market is 250 CFA (equivalent to US¢ 50); even this relatively small amount is significant here.

Three other phases follow the initial, highly labour intensive emergency phase with longer-term activities, including environmental protection, the reforestation of the areas around the wetland as well as anti-erosion techniques such as low stone walls.

WFP was able to support this project through generous contributions from the UK and Italy.