The Millennium Village of Kongoussi in northern Burkina Faso consists of six villages and the nearby town of the same name. Its 5,000 residents live off the low yields that their farms produce. The soil is stony and parched; there is a lack of seeds and tools for agriculture. There is also too little farmland to feed the growing population.
Many men move to the large cities or neighbouring countries to look for work. The women stay behind. They are often left alone with the responsibility of ensuring that their families survive. The people in Kongoussi require assistance; this is why theirs is one of the villages and regions that Welthungerhilfe is supporting as part of the Millennium Village initiative.
Harvests from the fields can be increased with better seeds and suitable tools. Families are planting vegetable gardens for vitamin-rich food and can sell surplus crops at the market.
Founding of small businesses
Capacity development courses in effective farming methods, nutritional counselling as well as the processing of agricultural products is generating new business ideas. Local residents are now earning money through retail trade, cereal processing, the breeding of small livestock and the sale of goats and pigs. Literacy courses are also on offer: These are fundamental for the founding of small businesses. Women are supported with loans and special courses.
The construction of new wells has considerably improved everyday life for women and girls: They no longer need to walk long distances to the lake to haul water.
Safe and clean drinking water
In order to ensure that this precious liquid is sufficient in the future, villagers are founding committees to supervise water removal, maintenance and servicing of the wells. The safe and clean drinking water is also leading to a reduction in diarrhoea and illnesses caused by infections. The people in Kongoussi have improved life in the village in a lasting way with just a little support.
In the Millenium Declartion of 2000 189 countries committed themselves to eight targets intended to ensure more global justice by 2015. Welthungerhilfe has also taken up this challenge, starting the Millenium Villages initiative in 2006. This gives the local population a voice and makes progress measurable. The focus is on the principle, "helping to help themselves". Village communities specify their problems, prepare solution pathways and implement these.
The aid measures are financially supported by the Department for International Development (UK).