In Burkina Faso we partner with a local organisation called Keoogo, which offers protection and rehabilitation services to children living on the streets. In Burkina Faso, poverty, intrafamily violence and early pregnancy can force girls aged between 12 to 18 years old to run away from home and end up living on the streets, where they can be exposed to further exploitation and violence.
Keoogo has recently built a community-led, walled village 17 km north of the capital Ouagadougou, to provide food, protection, health care, education and vocational training for girls living on the streets with their children. The village’s name is ‘Beoogo Tienbo’, which means ‘Hope for the Future’ in Moore, the main spoken language of Burkina Faso.
The main objectives of the project are as follows: to improve the well-being and life-prospects of these girls and their children; to provide a 12 month programme of vocational training and skills development to increase the girls’ chances of integration into the local labour market; to introduce income-generating ‘micro-activities’ to ensure a reliable source of income for the girls and their children in the long-term.
The village will also offer access to a nursery school, a playground, a food bank and other facilities to 6000 members of the surrounding community. To ensure post-funding sustainability and viability of the village, the project aims to develop agro-ecological activities through vocational training such as market gardening, bee-keeping and small-sized breeding as well as food service activities such as a bakery and a restaurant.
Providing an opportunity for these girls has already had an impact.
Quote from an 18 year old girl living in the village: “The Keoogo village allows me to live a family life. It gives meaning to my life.”
Quote from the mother of a 5 year old boy “Since we came to the village, my son has become more and more fulfilled. He has fun with others, eats well and has toys at his disposal. I am looking forward to seeing him go to the village nursery school in September.”
Due to the urgent need to provide these girls with the means to provide for themselves, the village has been open for a few months providing psychosocial counselling to the young mothers. However there is still a need for additional staff and more equipment to deliver the training component, as the current challenges for the project are in acquiring the equipment for the bakery, catering, weaving and sewing workshops. Increasing the food budget for the girls and their children is also another priority.