Our Stories | Office of Transition Initiatives

Speeches Shim

Last updated: June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

Since 2001, the Women's Center in Diapaga, Burkina Faso has organized vocational training for women and girls, teaching sewing, weaving, and other income generating activities (IGAs)—courses that directly contribute to women's empowerment in the commune. The center has also provided women with a place to gather and discuss common issues and problems over the years. However, despite the center’s usefulness, the facilities deteriorated and community stakeholders stopped renting meeting rooms, significantly reducing the center’s ability to generate the income necessary to maintain it. 

May 24, 2021

Gorom-Gorom is the capital of Oudalan Province and the most populous city in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, with more than 150,000 inhabitants. The city has a large animal husbandry market that serves much of the Sahel region, as well as neighboring Niger and Mali. Traditionally, markets such as these serve as important sources of income generation in Gorom-Gorom. However, due to increased insecurity as a result of violent extremist organization (VEO) presence in the area beginning in 2018, butchers have been unable to attend nearby markets to buy animals or sell their meat. Likewise, buyers from other places are unable to travel to Gorom-Gorom to buy meat. Many local butchers also lack knowledge on proper management and meat storage, which makes it difficult for them to satisfy customers regarding food safety and food processing standards. Therefore, despite strong local demand many butchers are unable to meet the needs of their customers, leading to income disruption. The disruption of this important source of income, and the lack of other viable economic alternatives, has increased local vulnerability and feelings of abandonment by authorities in Gorom-Gorom, creating conditions that could be exploited by VEOs through financial incentives.

April 22, 2021

In Burkina Faso, water sources and mills have traditionally been places where women can speak freely amongst themselves and share their challenges with one another, such as fetching enough water and grinding enough grain to meet their families’ needs. These tasks take up a significant amount of time and are vitally important for families to function. However, violent extremist group (VEO) threats and attacks have disrupted agricultural production and commercial activities in remote areas. Income-generating activities that are traditionally managed by women — such as agriculture, livestock husbandry, and small-scale market gardening — have been negatively impacted by the violence. The arrival of internally displaced persons (IDPs), mostly women fleeing from conflict-affected areas, has increased the pressure on existing resources, creating tensions between IDPs and host community women. 

March 22, 2021

Many people living in remote areas of the Est, Nord, and Sahel regions of Burkina Faso faced growing insecurity and repeated terrorist attacks, which forced them to flee toward bigger towns for safety reasons. However, the host communities that received these thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) were already struggling with economic hardships and livelihood disruptions, and as a result sometimes failed to meet their growing populations' needs. Within this context, these failed expectations translated to tensions around managing and using available resources, especially water resources, because they were already scarce and remained critical for both IDPs and host community members.

March 12, 2021

The city of Pemba, Mozambique is facing a complex health crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasingly violent insurgency, and a myriad of challenges related to hosting tens of thousands of people displaced by the conflict. The government’s limited ability to address these crises compounds feelings of marginalization among citizens—grievances that Islamic State-Mozambique (IS-M) exploits to gain support and recruits.

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