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Solar-powered irrigation systems empowering women in Burkina Faso

Christian Aid and partner organisation ATAD (Technical Alliance for Development Assistance) have been supporting women from Louda village to establish market gardens as a resilient livelihood alternative in these times of climatic crisis and change.


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Over the years, Louda Village has suffered some of the worst impacts of climate change: drought, food crisis and flooding.

As a result, women have had to spend increasing amounts of time and effort obtaining drinking water, and carrying water to try and irrigate their crops.

 

New water and storage facilities

Through ATAD, two solar-powered water pumps have been provided: one, to provide driving water to the village and a second pump and storage system to irrigate vegetables and trees in market gardens, in which 100 women have plots.

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The two water towers in the centre of Louda Village

During an initial testing phase the equipment performed better than expected, providing 10,000 litres of water for the village over a period of 24 hours.
 
A water management committee was established to oversee the arrangements for use of the water systems, providing each household with an allocated time to use the facilities, and ensuring there is always a plan in place should there be a break in the systems, or a requirement for improvements.

They also facilitated the training of local women in the maintenance of the equipment, best practice in agricultural production, marketing techniques and conservation.

A new storage warehouse was constructed to serve as a daily point of sale for fresh and cooked products.

Located centrally in the village, it has enabled women to generate income through the sale of their produce.

 

Involving the local men

Throughout the implementation of this project regular meetings were held between the heads of households in the village, women and the water management committee.

As the land owners, it was essential that the husbands and men in the local area were involved, to approve the construction of equipment on their land and to permit community members access to those facilities.

 

Impact

These facilities have made it easier and quicker for women to irrigate their crops and collect drinking water for their families.

This allows them more time with their families and, vitally, empowers them to be more confident and financially resilient.

They are more involved in household decision making, whilst sharing in the financial responsibilities of their families.

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Irene (pictured above) is 40 years old and lives with her 7 children. She says:

'Before, the insufficiency of water made our existence difficult but life in Louda is pleasant now.

‘We are in a good place, the availability of water on a continuous basis has enabled us get out of poverty.

'We can produce our vegetables all year round, and have drinking water so close to home. We all have more time for our production activities and for our families. We now have food security.

'Thank you all for your support.’

 

We are thankful to the Church of Ireland, Electric Aid and anonymous donors for their generous support of this project.


About the author

Sorley McCaughey

Sarah Leeman is Christian Aid Ireland's Senior Programme Funding Officer.

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