On 15 September 2019, Salif Koadima* fled his home in the village of Soam (Matiacoali commune, Burkina Faso), where his family had lived for over 44 years. Earlier that day, he had received news that unidentified armed men, to whom he referred simply as “jihadists,” had assassinated his neighbor for reasons unknown to him. A councilman in Matiacoali’s city council, he knew he was in imminent danger, with local authorities being a main target of armed violent extremist groups active in the region. …

Part one of a two-part series

In early April, unidentified armed men detained and questioned Yempabo Thiombiano* on his way home from work in Namoungou, a village in Burkina Faso’s East region. Then working as a guard at a once frequented hunting lodge and safari, Thiombiano had stopped at the market to buy bread. Upon leaving, he crossed paths with the militants as he rejoined his usual route home. Armed with Kalashnikovs, the men demanded his name, from where he was coming, and what he was doing there. They asked him where he and his family lived. After the questioning and after visiting his family’s home…

Des filles en train de puiser de l’eau d’une source d’eau non améliorée dans le village de Kogodou, Bilanga, Burkina Faso. Crédit : Abby Damon / Initiative : Eau (2018)

For the english version, click here.

Nous sommes à un moment critique pour empêcher la propagation de l’extrémisme violent au Burkina Faso et en Afrique de l’Ouest. Alors que les solutions militaires et les programmes de consolidation de la paix occupent une place de plus en plus importante dans l’engagement occidental dans la région, nous ne pouvons et ne devons pas oublier l’importance que revêt la fourniture des services de base et les infrastructures essentielles pour lutter contre les facteurs de radicalisation.

Au cours de l’année écoulée, le nombre et la propagation géographique des attaques violentes au Burkina Faso ont…

Girls drawing water from unimproved water source in the village of Kogodou, Bilanga, Burkina Faso. Credit: Abby Damon / Initiative: Eau (2018)

Pour accéder la version française, cliquez ici.

We are at a critical moment in preventing the spread of violent extremism in Burkina Faso and in West Africa. As military solutions and peace-building programming become increasingly the focus of Western involvement in the region, we cannot and must not forget the importance that basic service provision and critical infrastructure play in counteracting the drivers of radicalization.

Over the past year, Burkina Faso has seen a staggering increase in the number and geographic spread of violent attacks, an increase of 200% over the year prior [1]. In decades past, however, Burkina has…

Several months after arriving for a 2-year deployment with Initiative: Eau at our West Africa Regional Office in Fada N’Gourma, Burkina Faso, I contracted dengue fever.

A morning in early September 2017, I awoke sluggishly and was slow to begin the day. I had just returned from a trip to the capital, Ouagadougou, for several meetings. I remarked a generalized soreness, and hints of a headache and eye pain. I checked my temperature, and noticed a slight fever. Thinking it could be malaria, I went to the clinic and got tested for the gamut of typical tropical diseases: malaria, typhoid…

Growing up in a region with abundant water resources like my home state of Maine in the U.S., I had never considered the possibility of not having adequate safe water. It wasn’t until a presentation by a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) NGO during secondary school that I became aware of the hardships experienced by millions around the globe with regards to access to clean water. During the presentation, they explained to us that in the small, West African nation of Burkina Faso, woman and children often must walk over 5 kilometers each day to get the water they need…

Donald Brooks

CEO of Initiative: Eau & Strategy and policy consultant at Dalberg

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