The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provided assistance to vulnerable populations affected by the crisis in Burkina Faso last year, thanks to an $11.8 million contribution from the Canadian government, channeled through Global Affairs Canada.
The funding helped WFP meet the food needs of 1.2 million people during the lean season (June to August), whose ability to meet their basic food and nutrition needs had decreased over the years due to insecurity, the impact of climate change, and rising food prices.
Elvira Pruscini, WFP’s representative and country director in Burkina Faso, said, “Our priority in 2022 was to help contain the food crisis among people affected by insecurity while reinforcing families’ capacity to reverse the effects of climate change.
“With the funds donated by the Government of Canada, WFP was able to provide vital food assistance and also help vulnerable families create sustainable solutions for food security allowing them to improve their living conditions.”
In addition to direct emergency food assistance, WFP worked with communities to strengthen their resilience to climate shocks such as droughts and floods. Through land rehabilitation and promotion of agricultural activities that produce food for families while protecting the environment for future generations, WFP implemented activities to meet people’s needs, with a particular emphasis on women’s economic capacity to care for themselves.
The funding also enabled WFP to maintain the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service throughout 2022, allowing the humanitarian community to reach the most vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach areas with vital humanitarian assistance.
Lee-Anne Hermann, the ambassador of Canada to Burkina Faso, said, “With 60 years of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and Canada, and long-lasting partnership with WFP, Canada remains committed to work for the benefit of the most vulnerable population in Burkina Faso.”
However, in 2023, WFP in Burkina Faso requires $505 million to provide life-saving and life-changing assistance to the people most exposed to food insecurity in the country. According to the latest Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis, 2.6 million people faced emergency levels of food insecurity in the last quarter of 2022, a 59 percent increase compared to the same period in 2021. This figure is projected to reach 3.5 million people during the lean season between June and August 2023.
Furthermore, an estimated 19 800 people across Burkina Faso’s Sahel region will experience catastrophic levels of hunger during the same period unless urgent action is taken to provide timely support.
The WFP and the Canadian government’s contribution to the fight against food insecurity in Burkina Faso is commendable, but more assistance is needed to tackle the rising problem effectively. Some say the government of Canada and other partners should consider increasing their support to the WFP to help alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable populations in Burkina Faso.