Our Stories | Office of Transition Initiatives

Speeches Shim

Last updated: March 02, 2021

March 2, 2021

Language plays a critical role in mitigating conflict because using the right words is essential in efforts to foster peace. This is especially true in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, where in many cases government-appointed officials do not speak the region's local languages. Officials often request for residents in the region to serve as volunteer interpreters to facilitate communication between them, the appointed local authorities, and community members. However, these volunteers are often youth with little to no formal interpreter training who are then exposed to high pressure situations where the wrong word choice could provoke violence.

February 19, 2021

Terrorist attacks and threats have caused many people in Burkina Faso to move to more secure places, generally to provincial and communal administrative centers. Schools in various urban centers in the Est and Nord regions that host displaced children lack the logistical capacity to accommodate additional students. These schools face multiple problems, such as overcrowded classrooms and inadequate infrastructure. These conditions make integrating displaced students very difficult, causing disruptions in their education and risking further destabilization of the area. 

January 25, 2021

Many people in the rural Est, Nord, and Sahel regions of Burkina Faso are reluctant to visit urban health centers due to the risks associated with traveling to them, including potential run-ins with violent extremist organizations (VEOs), and instead rely on the assistance of community-based health workers (CBHWs). Recently, VEO attacks and threats against health workers in those regions led to the closure of several remote health centers and the relocation of health workers to urban centers. The result—fewer health workers and a lack of medical and psychological assistance—facilitates local populations’ sense of abandonment by the state, and reduces the chance of survival for those injured during VEO attacks.

January 12, 2021

On October 18, 2020, the city of Pemba, Mozambique celebrated its 62nd anniversary. In previous years, communities within the city would come together to celebrate and reaffirm Pemba’s history, identity, values, and vision. This year, however, conflict is at the city’s doorstep. Pemba hosts an estimated 80,000 Cabo Delgado citizens who have been displaced by conflict in the region. Already scarce resources and services are at a breaking point, with COVID-19 further compounding these stressors and increasing the risk of instability emerging between host communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pemba.

December 31, 2020

Thiou is a rural commune situated between the city of Ouahigouya in Burkina Faso, and Koro, the closest Malian city on the other side of the border. The commune’s degraded security situation severely limits economic opportunities, leaving many young people in financially precarious positions without steady employment or viable sources of income. This insecurity contributes to increased youth vulnerability to the financial incentives terrorist groups offer to entice potential recruits.