Life in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a small, landlocked and densely populated country in West Africa. It is one of the poorest in the world where one in five children die before their fifth birthday. There are few schools, health facilities and public services - especially in rural areas. Just over half of the population has access to clean water, while less than 15% have access to sanitation. Over half the population of just over 16 million are under the age of 17 and life expectancy is just 53.7 years, with just 20 countries in the world having a lower life expectancy rate. 90% of Burkinabe live in rural areas, with homes being traditional huts with thatch roofs often clustered together and surrounded by a mud and brick wall that serves as a courtyard.

Government staff such as teachers and nurses are often provided with concrete block homes with corrugated tin roofs. Electricity and running water are generally not available although some enterprising villagers attempt to charge batteries from solar panels and the odd gas fridge can be seen.

As with so many other countries in West Africa, the daily routine of fetching water takes up a fair share of the day with villagers often having to walk many miles to a borehole, collecting water in plastic buckets and dishes.

Life for children in Burkina Faso normally starts with the first cock crow around 5-6am followed by undertaking household chores such as sweeping the yard, home to the family's animals ~ normally chickens and goats. Some boys will then go off to school, but girls are often required to stay at home looking after family members and undertaking other daily tasks such as washing and cleaning.

One 12 year old Burkina Faso boy commented "My Dad says that girls shouldn't go to school because they need to work at home and become wives and have children. But I think that when I have a wife I would like her to have gone to school."


Life in Burkina Faso

Life in Burkina Faso

Life in Burkina Faso

Life in Burkina Faso



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Human Development Index Burkina Faso

Human Development Index for Burkina Faso 1980 - Present

The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country. Burkina Faso is in 183rd place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart above shows that Burkina Faso is significantly lower than both low huamn development and sub-Saharan development.

Most villages, which are normally home to around a thousand people, small enough for everyone to know each other, hold weekly markets, sometimes more often. One ten year old girl who is kept from school states "I have to sell the little cakes and soap that my aunt has made and I will load them onto a tray that I carry on my head ... If I sell a lot she always gives me something – I usually buy bubble-gum with it but I am trying now to save up for a new pair of flip-flops." A typical villager diet is made up of daily 'To' which is a very thick millet flour paste eaten with a leaf sauce and often supplemented by shish-ka-bobs of meat from the market, chicken eggs, and rice. The above video gives a good insight into daily life in Burkina Faso for its citizens and also provides a taste of Burkina Faso music and culture. The articles also provide insights into daily rural life in the villages of Burkina Faso.



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