As in many developing countries, education tends to favour males.

Women are not actively encouraged to become better educated, and in rural communities where daily survival is the priority, there is no perceived need even if the opportunity were available.

As a result literacy stands nationally at 12.8% for those over 15 years, but for women this is 8.1% and for men 18.5%. The majority of literate people are centred around the larger cities such as Ouagadougou, the capital, or Bobo-Dioulasso where literacy and numeracy can be translated into better jobs with higher income.

30% of the country’s 7 year olds attend primary school although this is much reduced in more rural areas where there may be no school at all. Class sizes can be anywhere in size up to 100 pupils per year group and teaching resources are scarce or non-existent.

10% make it through to secondary school, with only about 1% achieving tertiary (University level) education.

What can we do about it?

Aid to Burkina is currently involved in two areas of development with several others awaiting the money to start the bigger projects that we have planned.

1. Sponsoring a teacher

Through the ongoling generosity of people like you we have been able to employ a full time teacher  at The Dorcas Centre who is able to teach the girls literacy and numeracy. The cost of employing a teacher and equipping her to do this is a little over £100 per month.

2. Student Sponsorship

Many of the girls attending the Dorcas Centre have recently arrived following conflict in Ivory Coast to the South of Burkina Faso, where some have been orphaned as a result of the violence. Others are girls sent from rural villages because of the reputation of Dorcas but who have no money to pay for the cost of living or education while staying there. Even small donations can help offset the cost of education for these women and help them to improve their standard of living by getting more skilled work.

£15 per month will provide a girl with education, a daily meal and a foot-powered sewing machine as a graduation gift

£30 per month will provide a girl with education, a daily meal and accommodation

Plans for the Future

Plans have already been drawn up for two other areas of education which require significant financial resources

Car Workshop

Many young men are unemployed because they cannot read or write and have no means or opportunity to access education when each day is a struggle for survival and education is not free. We hope to be able to teach boys basic car maintenance along with literacy and numeracy skills so that they have the chance to raise their standard of living through self-improvement.

To do this we need to purchase land, build a garage and workshop and find and fund teachers who would be able to teach the young men. In the Western world this would be a huge undertaking. In West Africa the start up costs are still considerable, but considerably less than they would be here at home. We are looking into ways in which this project can be funded in the near future. Land has been purchased on which to build the workshop but a further £17,000 is needed to build and fully equip the workshop to the required standard. If you would like to contribute towards this work please contact us at


Much of the farming is undertaken by women. While this is not usually a problem for women who marry within the same community and who are familiar with the local land quality and cultivation methods, women who marry outside of their village may suddenly be faced with land that is entirely different in quality and potential for successfully growing crops. This can attract criticism from the husband and his family and produce great unhappiness as a result.

We have plans drawn up by a local architect for the construction of a Piggery and a large piece of land is available to house both the pigs and to cultivate a wide variety of local produce. The building is expensive in local terms, but we hope to be able to start construction in the near future.

If you would like to contribute towards this important work please contact us on


Subsistence farming is a way of life for over 75% of the population of Burkina Faso. During the rainy season crops are grown which have to supply the needs of the family throughout the dry season. Small wells provide water for the family but are often not near enough to where the crops are grown to make them easily usable.

£150 provides a foot powered irrigation system that can triple crop yield and double the length of the growing season by taking the water from a well and irrigating a larger field so that more crops can be grown. Surplus crops means more crops to sell, and the standard of living of the family goes up. If you would like to contribute towards the purchase of one of these irrigation systems, sourced locally in Burkina Faso please click here