Surviving Hunger : The Story of Alizeta Sawadogo in Burkina Faso

Read the story of Alizeta, a farmer and widow in Burkina Faso. Credit: Samuel Turpin/ Oxfam

Alizeta Sawadogo is a farmer and mother of 8 children. She has been farming all her life, growing cereals. But yields have become increasingly low due to the effects of climate change. Credit: Samuel Turpin/ Oxfam

« I had to look for ways to adapt and take care of my family. »

Imagine having to grow vegetables in temperatures approaching 50 degrees with recurrent droughts. This is no small task. In Burkina Faso, it is a matter of survival for the vast majority of the population who depend on agriculture for their food.

"All my life I have been farming," says Alizeta Sawadogo, 55. I used to grow cereals. But it rains less and less. And the dry season is getting longer and hotter. Yields are getting lower and lower. "

Add to these difficulties the conflict in the north of the country, which is destroying entire villages and forcing people to abandon their land, the economic impact of COVID-19, which is increasing food prices, and the lean season, when reserves are depleted while waiting for the harvest. As a result, 2 million Burkinabè are currently facing a hunger crisis.

This was also the fate of Alizeta, who lost her land and her husband and had eight children to feed: "I had to look for ways to adapt and take care of my family. "

With the support of the NGO Alliance Technique d'Assistance au Développement (ATAD), Alizeta was able to join a group of 50 vulnerable and landless women in a collective farm of two hectares, equipped with four wells. Each woman manages her own plot free of charge, but they work on a collective basis. The NGO ATAD also provides seeds.

For Alizeta, this is an opportunity to reinvent herself: "I have learned to produce organic food using environmentally friendly techniques. We don't use phytosanitary products because we want to offer healthy food. We enrich the soil with compost otherwiseit is easily depleted. We also produce our own seeds by multiplying them," she says proudly.

Alizeta can now get through the lean season without fear: "I can feed my family all year round. I even sell part of my harvest to cover medical expenses and school fees for the children. "

Through the Sahelian Youth for Climate Action project, financed by the European Union, Oxfam and its partners are enabling young people and women in Burkina Faso and Niger to implement solutions to cope with the impacts of climate change and enable them to continue to care for their loved ones.

Discover the "Surviving Hunger" series

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« I plan to develop a small farm to enable me to return to a stable life. »  

Read the story of Marietou in Burkina Faso 

« I have realized that diversifying my activities is the key to food security. »