Burkina Faso loses 470,000 hectares of land every year due to a combination of natural and human factors. This continued degradation of the land is a main cause of economic stagnation, migration and instability in the country. It is estimated that more than 9 million hectares of land, one third of the country’s surface, are seriously or totally degraded. As sources of income and employment for at least 85% of the population, land-based activities generate more than 60% of national wealth.
To break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and the out-migration of young people, the Government of Burkina Faso has developed a national strategy to transform 2000 villages into eco-villages by 2020. Each eco-village will be provided with solutions to develop renewable energies as well as with the infrastructure, tools and the capacities to reverse the trends of land degradation. At the end of a five-year project, 2 million hectares of degraded land will have been restored in 900 eco-villages and 400,000 jobs will have been created (each household operating 5 hectares). These jobs will be offered first and foremost to youth Burkinabe that struggle to find jobs and provide food to their families.
Four main types of interventions are being planned:
- Provide solar ovens and lights at the household level;
- Develop basic training to facilitate the creation and multiplication of the number of small enterprises and connect them to national and international value chains
- Provide the necessary tools and capacity building to restore/rehabilitate degraded land, including solar pumps and small irrigation infrastructure;
- Enhance community health and education infrastructure by developing lighting and construction of basic village-level infrastructure.