It was months of hard work, but we did it! As part of the project “Innovative social enterprises and migrants participation for social inclusion in Burkina Faso” co-financed by AICS and Maria Enrica Foundation, for two years (and a little) we have been working on a very special activity, namely distribution of agricultural kits to farmers working within the urban perimeter of the capital.

Not a simple operation, which started with a precise census of all the farmers of Ouagadougou which allowed not only to know the number (more than 3 thousand) and the names, but also to identify the characteristics of the sites and the means of production of each.

Having concluded this first part of the work, in December 2019, we moved on, with many difficulties related to the Covid-19 pandemic, to the acquisition of kits (201 kits composed of materials such as rake, hoe, wheelbarrow, watering can, etc. and motor pumps – in particular 151 kits and 50 motor pumps) and then to the choice of beneficiaries, which was not at all easy.

First of all, we wanted to ensure the transparency of the operation and then we had to identify, together with Marie from Ouagadougou, our main partner in this action, the criteria to be applied for the selection.

We wanted first of all that the beneficiaries were women, then that they were women on whom the family budget depends, then that they were employers for other people, that they were in short supply of materials and that nevertheless engaged in the production of more types of vegetables.

We also wanted them not to be all concentrated on the same site but to be located in various places in the Ouagadougou area. Finally, we had to assess who, more than others, needed the motor pump.

After this painstaking work, done in the presence of a commission that would guarantee impartiality, made up of us at Mani Tese, the partner ACRA, the Marie of Ouagadougou, the association of farmers and nurserymen of Ouaga and a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, we had to contact all the beneficiaries and the authorities and organize the ceremony for the distribution of the gifts, another job that required pas mal de temps, especially to be able to bring together the agendas of all the guests. But in the end, on September 4th, we succeeded.

The ceremony was held at the Maison du Peuple in Ouagadougou in the presence not only of the beneficiaries, the press and the authorities, but also of a representative of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, who expressed his satisfaction with the initiative.

We do not hide the fact that also practically distributing the gifts was a bit difficult, especially verifying the identity of the beneficiaries who sometimes, in the census list, were registered with their husband’s name or nickname that did not correspond to their identity card … But in short, by crossing different data, in the end we also succeeded in this undertaking! Not only that, because as regards the motor pumps, the supplier also gathered the beneficiaries over the weekend to test their operation one by one and to teach them how to use them.

It was therefore a complex and long activity, but we are happy with the attention we have dedicated and we are sure of the quality of our work and its importance, because it is those women, who have sometimes welcomed the gift with tears in their eyes, who feed the largest city in this country, destined to become a megalopolis within a few years. They, who every morning, starting at 3:30 we see bent over the fields intent on hoeing.

Here are some photos of the delivery of the kits.

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