Burkina Faso Regional Program Close-out Conference Promotes Partner Collaboration

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Burkina Faso Regional Program stakeholders gathered in Ouagadougou to attend the program's close-out conference in December 2021.

A day of knowledge-sharing ensures continuity among development stakeholders

Since July 2018, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) Burkina Faso Regional Program (BFRP) has implemented more than 220 activities in the Sahel, Nord, and Est regions to help mitigate the destabilizing effects of violence and insecurity, and promote stability. Working primarily through local grantees, the program has provided, among other initiatives, institutional capacity-building, training in combating violent extremism, and equipment for income-generation to local authorities, leaders, civil society organizations, and community members adversely affected by the security crisis. 

Scheduled to end in February 2022, BFRP held a close-out conference on December 2 in Ouagadougou to introduce stakeholders to each other, and share experiences and lessons learned. The day-long session brought together 44 in-person participants and another 26 virtually using online links offered in both French and English via simultaneous translation. Guests included Burkina Faso ministerial representatives, a delegation from the U.S. Embassy led by U.S. Ambassador Sandra Clark, the USAID Burkina Faso Country Representative, the OTI/BFRP Country Representative, international USAID implementing partners, and local BFRP grantees. 

The conference focused on key insights gained from BFRP activities, highlighted during three panel discussions with representatives from current USAID partners and BFRP grantees. Topics included: 

  • Panel I: Integrating conflict analysis, conflict sensitivity, monitoring & evaluation, verification and learning into the activity cycle; 
  • Panel II: How income-generating activities contribute to strengthening positive interactions between internally displaced persons and host populations, especially women and youth, while reducing economic vulnerability; and 
  • Panel III: How community access to essential services improves the relationship between local authorities and populations. 

In addition, BFRP grantees delivered two presentations focused on the promotion of social cohesion and peaceful cohabitation between generations, and the value of inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue and collaboration in peacebuilding. These presentations focused on relevant activities implemented under BFRP and the results, impact, and lessons learned. Notably, these presentations highlighted the importance of combining training on social cohesion with tangible income-generation support, and of tapping into traditional community dialogue mechanisms. 

The panels and presentations generated lively and thoughtful discussions as participants explored opportunities for new initiatives and future collaboration. For example, after a BFRP panelist described their organization’s work to develop income-generating activities in the agricultural sector, a USAID partner working on strengthening agriculture value chains offered technical assistance. Similarly, a government representative and head of the unit for prevention of radicalization expressed interest in BFRP’s work promoting inter-religious dialogue to reduce tensions between community members.

Thus, a USAID panelist’s comment that “the important work done by BFRP grantees to promote social cohesion between disenfranchised groups in Burkina Faso should be continued by government, civil society, and donor agencies” was played out in real time.    

During these rich exchanges, participants shared strategies adapted to local contexts and explored ways to better support communities facing growing insecurity caused by extremist groups. For example, BFRP grantees described how BFRP staff involved them from the initial phases of activity development to completion. This inclusive and participatory approach ensured stakeholder concerns were incorporated into activity design from inception. 

Overall, the conference strengthened connections between local and international development partners working to promote social cohesion and strengthen resilience in Burkina Faso and in the region. To facilitate future collaboration, a catalogue of BFRP grantees, including their program achievements and contact information, was shared with conference participants and other stakeholders working in the region.  

Last updated: January 05, 2022

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