Burkina Faso has been hosting Malian refugees since 2012 due to the ongoing crisis in their home country. As of April 2017, 33,056 Malian refugees were living in Burkina Faso, and of these, approximately 90% had settled in the Sahel region near the Malian border. In this region, most refugees live in camps and 8,801 refugees are hosted by local communities.
Since 2013, Danish Refugee Council/Danish Demining Group’s (DRC/DDG) intervention has been spread across 32 villages of the Soum and Oudalan provinces, which is located in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso. DRC/DDG aims to improve Malian refugees’ and host communities’ living conditions in the Sahel region through several approaches that combine emergency interventions and resilience-enhancing programmes in order to achieve durable solutions to displacement.
The arrival of refugees has increased the shortage of resources that are already scarce, and it has increased the vulnerability of both refugees and host communities. The number of households suffering from food insecurity has increased from 19% in December 2016 to 26% in June 2017. Therefore, DRC/DDG implements food assistance projects in order to alleviate food insecurity in the region and to reduce tensions that can arise from the scarcity of resources.
DRC/DDG strives to safeguard human rights through monitoring activities and the identification of survivors of violence, exploitation, discrimination, abuse, or negligence. DRC/DDG provides assistance or tailored referrals to these vulnerable populations in order to facilitate their access to basic services in a non-discriminatory manner and to develop community-based empowerment strategies.
Preventing child abuse, exploitation and the worst forms of labour as well as ensuring that children have access to quality education are important aspects of DRC/DDG’s work in Burkina Faso.
Education in Emergencies
In 2015-2016, the total school enrolment rate in the Sahel region was 49,9% compared to a national rate of 86,1% in Burkina Faso. DRC/DDG strives to safeguard this basic child right and prevent school drop-outs through sensitisation, identification and referral of vulnerable children, as well as advocacy and the distribution of hygiene kits for young girls. DRC/DDG also assists schools with equipment and furniture.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
DRC/DDG promotes an innovative community-based approach that empowers communities through needs assessments and the construction and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructures. Communities are directly involved and materials and tools are purchased locally to ensure a viable and sustainable intervention.
DRC/DDG aims to assist youth at risk, especially refugees, with vocational training and starting kits for the development of Income-Generating Activities.
As a long-term approach, and to address root causes of conflict and displacement, DRC/DDG promotes social cohesion through sensitisations and trainings involving host communities, refugees and local authorities.
DRC/DDG also works together with local and government authorities in Burkina Faso to reinforce their capacities to respond to the needs of populations in all sectors, and for a more durable intervention.
Border Security Management (BSM)
Since 2014, DRC/DDG has been implementing a BSM Programme in Liptako-Gourma, a border region encompassing parts of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Activities aim to build trust and promote dialogue and information exchanging between communities, authorities, and security forces across borders. DRC/DDG also strengthens the capacities of the border authorities through training and the provision of equipment and infrastructures. Communities are also trained in conflict management and risks related to arms and explosive devices.