Last Updated: 06/04/2021

Active COVID-19 cases in Burkina Faso rose in December 2020. The country is also facing a devastating humanitarian crisis. Escalating instability and violence have led to the internal displacement of over 1 million people – at least half of whom are children in need of education assistance. Many are without clean water, food, shelter or medical care. Famine-like conditions have been reported, and aid workers say half a million children under age 5 are acutely malnourished. As the situation continues to develop, women and children are especially vulnerable to exploitation, violence and malnutrition.

Most child development centers are allowing children to return in small groups for activities and classes, but some are only able to make home visits and phone calls to check in on families.  Compassion partner churches have distributed over 548,000 food packs and 453,000 hygiene kits to families and continue to work to raise awareness of COVID-19 preventative measures. They also have helped nearly 86,000 individuals obtain medical care.

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Burkina Faso?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Burkina Faso, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming. Watch the video above for a detailed explanation of how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion centers and how local partners are caring for each registered child during this season.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Most centers in Burkina Faso are hosting small group activities and classes while following safety protocols. Staff members continue to make phone calls and home visits to children and caregivers. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute over 548,000 food packs and 453,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

The majority of letters are delayed in Burkina Faso, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Burkina Faso, although they are currently delayed. In some communities, staff members have needed to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

Djénéba’s mother, Oumou, works hard to provide for her four children, selling firewood, beans and maize flour by the side of the road. Even before COVID-19 hit Burkina Faso, she struggled to make ends meet. The pandemic thrust the family into desperation.

"My business collapsed right after the first COVID-19 cases because people must stay at home,” says Oumou. As she struggled to put food on the table for her children, she was dealt a devastating blow. A fire started inside her home. The house was partially damaged and they lost almost everything they owned. The night following the disaster was a nightmare.

“I didn’t know what to do because the kids were crying at night for food and safety," says Oumou. "We slept on a plastic bag on the floor after removing the destroyed items from the house. Djénéba worried a lot about her school bag and her books that had become ashes.”

Twelve-year-old Djénéba is registered in Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program. She knows she can get support and protection from the center, and she urged her mother to go see Compassion's church partner after the fire. As soon as staff heard about the family's situation, they took action. Using Disaster Relief funds, they provided support to see the family through the double crises of COVID-19 and the house fire. They gave the family household essentials, including soap, pots, bags of rice, clothing, sleeping mats, face masks and shoes. Among the supplies, Djénéba was excited to see a brand-new school bag and books to help her resume her studies.

“Life would have been more complicated for me and the kids without the support of the center," says Oumou. "I didn’t know how to buy new clothing for the children and replace Djénéba’s school supplies after the house burnt. The support of the church is like removing a thorn from my feet so I can walk without pain or fear.”

How can I pray for Burkina Faso?

Pray for peace, unity and economic stability as the country deals with violence and social unrest in the midst of the pandemic.

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