Safety in Numbers – Group Harvesting in Nord Communes

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Group Harvest in Tangaye
USAID/BFRP

Many farmers could not access their fields in the Nord region of Burkina Faso in November 2019, due to insecurity and Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO) attacks. This provoked food insecurity and economic hardship for some local communities. With the rainy season coming to an end, USAID/OTI's Burkina Faso Regional Program, in collaboration with Groupement NAAN, a local network of farmers, seized upon this short window of opportunity to support and mobilize communities in target communes (Tangaye, Thiou, Koumbri, Solle) affected by VEO threats, around values of solidarity and mutual aid.

Groupement NAAN set up groups of 15 volunteers to help farmers harvest their fields to reduce the amount of time spent outside, where they would be most vulnerable to VEO attacks. Over the course of one month, this activity mobilized approximately 600 volunteers spanning 35 villages. Despite the distance between the different target villages and the fear of being attacked by VEOs, these volunteers harvested the fields of 420 farmers, including 131 women, helping them to secure a significant part of their crops. With this assistance, farmers were able to harvest their crops and combat the economic hardship and food insecurity. 

Even though this activity faced some operational difficulties, it contributed to fostering a sense of unity among community members from every ethnic and religious groups organized into neighborhood groups. Additionally, the activity helped improve access to fields during the critical harvesting season to improve agricultural yields. Sali, a mother of three, from the Dambatao village in Solle, was worried about how to harvest her field due to frequent reports of attacks in the area where she grew her millet. With the support from volunteers, she was able to harvest one hectare and collect three carts of sorghum.

"I would not be able to harvest because the fields were inaccessible due to insecurity[...] Alone, I would not even dare go to my farm, given the context. Without this support, I would not have been able to harvest my farm," said Sali, from Dambatao, Solle, Nord Region.

 

Just like Sali, other farmers, including Karim, a father of nine from the village of Gossere in Tangaye were able to harvest many hectares. In addition to the support and solidarity that people showed to one another during this critical time, Karim felt, "this opens the door for other activities because it brought people together.'' To maintain this momentum of solidarity between community members, BFRP provided each farmer group in the four communes of Tangaye, Thiou, Koumbri, and Solle with six plows and one cart to continue supporting those in need during the next growing seasons.

Last updated: November 10, 2022

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