Burkina Faso is a small, landlocked and densely populated country in West Africa. It is one of the poorest in the world where one in five children die before their fifth birthday (Burkina Faso's under-five child mortality rate in 2018 was 76.4 for every 1,000 live births). There are few schools, health facilities and public services - especially in rural areas. Following programs, most living in Burkina Faso now have access to clean water however, Just 34 per cent of the urban population have access to sanitary facilities while in rural communities, 88% of people are lacking sanitation. In 2017, for every 100,000 individuals, 52 people died in Burkina Faso from unsafe sanitation. In many developed countries, deaths linked to unsafe sanitation is less than 0.01. Over half the population of just 20.32 million (2019) are under the age of 17 and life expectancy is 61.17 years (2018).
Burkina Faso is in 182nd place out of 189 countries and territories in 2019 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country with a life expectancy of 61.17 years (2018) making it significantly lower than both low human development and sub-Saharan development. 90% of Burkinabe live in rural areas, with homes being traditional huts with thatch roofs often clustered together and surrounded by a mud and brick wall that serves as a courtyard. Government staff such as teachers and nurses are often provided with concrete block homes with corrugated tin roofs. Electricity and running water are generally not available although some enterprising villagers attempt to charge batteries from solar panels and the odd gas fridge can be seen. As with so many other countries in West Africa, the daily routine of fetching water takes up a fair share of the day with villagers often having to walk many miles to a borehole, collecting water in plastic buckets and dishes.
Life for children in Burkina Faso normally starts with the first cock crow around 5-6am followed by undertaking household chores such as sweeping the yard, home to the family' animals ~ normally chickens and goats. Some boys will then go off to school, but girls are often required to stay at home looking after family members and undertaking other daily tasks such as washing and cleaning. One 12 year old Burkina Faso boy commented "My Dad says that girls shouldn't go to school because they need to work at home and become wives and have children. But I think that when I have a wife I would like her to have gone to school."
Most villages, which are normally home to around a thousand people, small enough for everyone to know each other, hold weekly markets, sometimes more often. One ten year old girl who is kept from school states "I have to sell the little cakes and soap that my aunt has made and I will load them onto a tray that I carry on my head ... If I sell a lot she always gives me something - I usually buy bubble-gum with it but I am trying now to save up for a new pair of flip-flops." A typical villager diet is made up of daily 'To' which is a very thick millet flour paste eaten with a leaf sauce and often supplemented by shish-ka-bobs of meat from the market, chicken eggs, and rice. The video (below) gives a good insight into daily life in Burkina Faso for its citizens and also provides a taste of Burkina Faso music and culture.
Life in Burkina Faso: Volunteer in Burkina Faso
Life in Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso Poverty
Life in Burkina Faso: Child Sponsor Burkina Faso
Life in Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso Country Profile
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