The Union des Jeunes Leaders du Boulgou or UJLB (Union of young leaders of Boulgou) is an association whose name has always struck me. In Burkina Faso, associations and companies tend to have either the name of the owner or a auspicious title such as “together for solidarity”, “the Lord helps us”, “God’s will be done” or so on. UJLB is definitely unusual. Consequently, it had to be investigated and then I ask Idrissa, a 32-year-old young man who has been part of the association for 5 years, to tell me something.
“One can only be a leader, you cannot become a leader” explains Idrissa “The leader is the one who shows you the path to take, who leads the others”. “I am a leader. I am a dynamic and hardworking leader”.
And so Idrissa tells me his story, of how he dreamed of being a merchant, but then, having come into contact with UJLB, of how he understood that the chicken farming business in his village could be very convenient, since together with the rice and beans, chicken is one of the most consumed foods.
Chicken in Burkina Faso is a party. It is eaten in soup, grilled, with garlic, fried, in sauce. If you invite a Burkinabé to dinner and you don’t have chicken it’s almost a spite. And then let’s talk about free-range, small and athletic chickens… the famous poulet bicyclette you can read about on every street corner.
Thanks to the project “Innovative social enterprises and migrants participation for social inclusion in Burkina Faso“, Idrissa and 19 members of the Union have received various training to make this activity even more profitable and are now in the phase in which, having built the chicken coop, they are installing machinery to self-produce the feed.
The UJLB also has a strong friendship relationship with the Ligue culturelle des Jeunes Burkinabé in Montebelluna (Treviso): an association made up of 20 young Burkinabé migrants whose president is Lucien Bambara. The Ligue culturelle is also involved in the project and has undertaken to co-finance the construction of the chicken coop. Lucien, who last January was in Burkina Faso to lend a hand to the construction and check the progress of the works, believes that the activity undertaken can truly guarantee an income to the young people of the UJLB, some of whom also have behind them stories of migratory failures and were forced to return from Libya empty-handed.
Idrissa is working hard in this project and as a good leader he has clear ideas: working in association can in fact be a springboard for each of the guys so that they can one day have a big and beautiful house and, why not, with a chicken coop of 1000 chickens each.
Because chickens are serious business in Burkina Faso!