Water & Sanitation in Burkino Faso


Bishops’ Appeal supported this project to enable 30,000 people have access to safe drinking water in Burkina Faso (Feed the Minds)


Three principles that guide Self Help Africa’s projects…

  1. Nothing should come for free: African farmers do not want “charity”. They want the sense of dignity and self-worth that comes from having the opportunity to provide for themselves.
  1. Any changes must be sustainable: Communities must have the skills and resources to maintain improvements to their living conditions once we have left their district.
  1. Projects should benefit the maximum number of people: By ensuring communities have the capacity and will to support each other our projects benefit thousands more than just those farmers we work directly with.

All our projects have the primary aims of ensuring families have 

  1. Enough food to eat
  2. The means to earn an income
  3. The skills to ensure they can work their own way out of poverty


We also focus on other issues when they are a serious barrier to achieving our primary aims. These are

  1. Environmental issues
  2. Lack of water
  4. Gender inequality

Water and Sanitation Project in Burkina Faso

Grant request €10,065


Project Aim: Self Help Africa’s Water and Sanitation Project aims to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for 30,000 people in rural Burkina Faso, thereby improving their health and supporting productive rural agriculture.

Project Background:

Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 183/187 in the UN’s Human Development Index 2013, and it has one of the lowest GDP per capita figures in the world at approximately $1,400 per annum. Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Fisheries estimates that 4.7 million people in the country do not have access to safe drinking water and only 10% of rural communities have access to any formal sanitation. Burkina Faso’s scarce natural water sources are often shared by people and livestock resulting in high levels of contamination, which is exacerbated by poor sanitation.

Poor access to water limits communities’ abilities to improve their livelihoods. Women and girls often have to walk long distances to collect water, meaning that there is less time for farming and other income-generating activities and children often miss school. Contaminated water and poor hygiene and sanitation results in illness which also limits development. Lack of access to water limits agricultural activities as farmers are dependent on unreliable rains to irrigate their crops.

Project Activities:

Self Help Africa is working with three local partner organisations to provide wells and latrines in three of the most poorly-served districts of Burkina Faso – Sanaba, Yalgo and Gaongo where access to clean water is 38%, 44% and 53% respectively (compared with an already modest national average of 57%). Our local partners are Wend Yam and Organic, who we have worked with successfully for five years, and SOS Sahel Burkina Faso, with whom we have had a close working relationship for the past four years. Project objectives are as follows:

  1. faso2 faso3Providing equitable access to potable water: Local craftsmen/masons are being trained to rehabilitate existing water points and construct new boreholes.
  2. Providing equitable access to sanitation: The project is training local masons on the construction of household and ECOSAN latrines. ECOSAN latrines (see picture on right) serve a dual purpose as they provide improved sanitation, and the treated human waste can be used as safe, natural fertiliser which can help to increase crop yields.
  3. Ensuring good management of water and hygiene infrastructure: Community groups known as Water User Associations are being formed and trained on how to manage and maintain the boreholes and latrines. The project is also training craftsmen and masons on borehole maintenance and providing them with tool kits, to ensure that the water points remain in good working order. Self Help Africa and our partners are also working closely with district authorities to support them to integrate water and sanitation activities into their development plans and training local government staff on effective natural resource management.
  4. Promoting good practice in hygiene and sanitation: We are training district field officers on the promotion of hygiene and sanitation to local communities through a series of workshops, awareness raising sessions and local radio broadcasts.

All activities fully involve community members. Community groups are contributing locally-available materials towards the construction of boreholes and latrines; household members are participating in water user committees; and local craftsmen/masons are being trained in the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of water points to ensure that they remain in good working order.


Anticipated results: Over the five-year project period (October 2011 – September 2016) the following results are expected:

  • 100 boreholes constructed, enabling 30,000 people to access safe drinking water.
  • 2,111 household latrines and 200 ECOSAN latrines built enabling 23,110 people to have improved sanitation.

Funding Request:

She says that since joining the Wend Yam Federation two years ago she

has adopted new practices and developed the business potential of beekeeping.

“The money that we earn from beekeeping allows us to buy additional food for our family during the difficult months. It also means that we can buy clothing, shoes and books, so that our children can go to school.”

We are requesting funding of €10,065 from The Church of Ireland Bishops Appeal to cover the costs of 70 household latrines and 12 ECOSAN latrines. This will improve sanitation, health and livelihoods for around 820 people in poor, rural communities of Burkina Faso


Item Detail Cost €
12 x ECOSAN Latrines Labour and construction materials, including latrine structure, roof, door, concrete slabs and flooring, and the composting container. 2,400
70 x Household Latrines Labour and construction materials, including latrine structure, roof, door and concrete slabs and flooring. 7,665
Total   €10,065