Our Stories | Office of Transition Initiatives

Speeches Shim

Last updated: April 22, 2021

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.

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.