Mujeres Burkina calls for collaboration to help fifty families displaced due to terrorism

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Dani Sorolla
  • The Gavà-based organization has launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the food and economic sustainability of around fifty families.
    The Gavà-based organization has launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the food and economic sustainability of around fifty families. Source: Mujeres Burkina.
  • Mujeres Burkina's main mission is to help women in the most vulnerable areas of the country.
    Mujeres Burkina's main mission is to help women in the most vulnerable areas of the country. Source: Mujeres Burkina.
  • Kaya is a very dry area located near the Sahel, with a scarcity of water.
    Kaya is a very dry area located near the Sahel, with a scarcity of water. Source: Mujeres Burkina.

The entity from Gavà, in Catalonia, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to ensure the food and economic sustainability of around fifty families in the Kaya area, in the northwest of the country.

Montserrat Riba was deeply struck by what she saw when she visited Burkina Faso in 2004. Although her brother had already warned her about the country, as he had traveled there a few years earlier for work and told her that it was a place where "everything needed to be done," the impact of poverty and vulnerability on Montserrat was stronger than she had imagined.

Furthermore, her stay in the African country—one of the poorest in the world—coincided with a pivotal moment when she was searching for something to "combine work with a humanitarian project," as she has always been deeply involved in charitable causes.

One of the things that impressed her the most about Burkina Faso was the courage and resilience of the women in the country, who face incredibly difficult situations and endure immense precarity. "It's a daily struggle; women are the first to wake up and the last to go to sleep," she explains in a conversation with Xarxanet, adding that "they live under significant subjugation in a society that remains very traditional."

Confronted with this reality, in 2007 Montserrat and some friends decided to take a step forward and founded Mujeres Burkina, an association from Gavà committed to the transformation process of Burkina Faso, with the primary mission of helping women in the most vulnerable areas of the country. "We realized that women truly have the power to change society, and by helping women, you help the entire family and the entire country, because they are the pillar and driving force of social change," explains Montserrat, the president of the organization.

Projects and actions to promote the role of women and empower them

Montserrat mentions the inspiring example of Beatriz as a testament to the resilience and perseverance of Burkinabe women. She was the first woman they assisted through the organization, with a microcredit project that enabled her to start her own business and make significant progress within a few years. "She has become very strong, but it hasn't been easy because everything takes time and cannot be accomplished overnight," she expresses.

Another one of the many success stories is that of Helène, a widow with three children to support. Through a seventy-five euro microcredit loan per year, she was able to launch a small children's clothing business, which she sells during major events in the country's capital. Thanks to this, she was able to improve her situation, leave behind precarity, and move to a new home.

Microcredit-based assistance and the promotion of self-employment are among the types of projects that Mujeres Burkina has implemented to promote the autonomy and independence of women in the country. "We try to reach where they can't, but above all, we provide tools for them to move forward and empower themselves," she asserts.

Among other actions to improve women's situations, the association has also supported the creation of the 'Santa Vicenta Maria Training Center,' located in the Department of Saaba, which provides training space for women, where they can reside and pursue vocational studies to establish and manage rural microenterprises and market local products.

Thus, over the years and with great effort, the organization has carried out various cooperation projects in the country aimed at promoting human rights, educational and literacy programs, child nutrition, economic development, microcredit financing, and the construction of water wells, among others.

Crowdfunding campaign to help families displaced by terrorism

Now, Mujeres Burkina has launched a crowdfunding campaign through the Migranodearena platform to finance the second phase of a project to assist around fifty families affected by a problem that has become a true scourge threatening the future of the country: jihadist terrorism.

For years, jihadist militias have spread uncontrollably across much of the Sahel, a region that has become the new epicenter of global jihadism. The situation is grave and has caused havoc in Burkina Faso, where, according to Montserrat, terrorism has already forced the displacement of about two million people.

"It's truly heartbreaking what is happening because Burkina Faso had always been a country characterized by peace and tranquility, where people are very kind, and despite the great diversity, coexistence had always been very good," she laments. In fact, due to this situation and the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, Montserrat has been unable to return to the country since 2019. "We were about to go after the pandemic, but we were advised not to travel," she says.

In this context, the association received a request for help from the town of Kaya, about seventy kilometers northwest of the capital. "They told us that in this area, they were receiving many displaced people due to jihadist attacks, and these were families that were suffering greatly in a precarious situation," says Montserrat. Quickly, the organization sprung into action to find a way to help these individuals.

Kaya is a very dry area, located in the Sahel, with a severe water scarcity. Thus, the first phase of the project to aid the displaced families, carried out with the support of the Gavà City Council, involved building a well and a water storage facility powered by solar panels. The objective, in addition to ensuring water supply for the population, is to enable each of the women from the fifty families to cultivate a garden of about two hundred square meters to feed their households and sell the surplus.

The second phase of the project, for which Mujeres Burkina has launched the donation campaign, involves fencing off the hectare of land to divide it into plots and protect it from animals, thus initiating cultivation.

Therefore, achieving this goal will not only ensure the food sustainability of the women and their families but also contribute to their economic sustainability and secure a better future for all of them. "It is urgent to move forward with this second phase of the project because the rainy season is about to arrive, and that is when they can start cultivating," states the president of the association.

Therefore, the organization calls for collaboration and lending a helping hand to the fifty families who have been forced to abandon their homes due to the scourge of terrorism, thereby contributing to the work that Mujeres Burkina carries out in the country. Because helping Burkinabe women is strengthening one of the pillars of the country's development.

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