Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Country Context

A small, landlocked country in West Africa’s Sahel region, Burkina Faso has a child population totaling over half of the nation’s 16 million people. Despite legislative and institutional efforts to protect children and to strengthen families in Burkina Faso, children are still vulnerable to violence, extreme poverty, and malnutrition, the last being a product of the region’s long dry season and cyclical droughts. A 2012 survey found that 1.25 million (or 37.8%) of children ages 5-14 in Burkina Faso are working to augment the incomes of their families. Each year, school attendance in some regions of the country tends to plummet after the dry season just before the new planting season begins. Although many international and national organizations work to support children and families, they often work in isolation; efforts to evaluate child-focused policy and program impacts remain limited.

Program Learning Group Description

The recently established Burkina Faso Program Learning Group (PLG) works to promote the professionalization and institutionalization of child protection and family welfare by facilitating linkages between policymakers, academics, and practitioners. Hosted at the NGO Terre des hommes, the PLG is affiliated with the country’s Child Protection Working Group, an inter-agency group overseen by the Ministry of Social Welfare and National Solidarity, and has established links with the Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population at the Université de Ouagadougou as well as to other research institutions. By creating the tools and evidence needed to measure success for children, the Burkina Faso PLG is raising the prominence of child protection and family welfare in the national development agenda.

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Research Priorities

At its launch workshop in October 2013, the members of Burkina Faso’s PLG established three learning priorities for a three-year period. First, the PLG is developing standardized child protection indicators for government and NGO service providers to integrate into national surveys and program design. Two other research priorities emerged: impact evaluations for child protection policies and programs and the exploration of endogenous child protection mechanisms. Two studies linked to the PLG launched in 2014: a multi-country assessment of social work training, undertaken at the request of the West and Central Regional Office of UNICEF, and a three-armed randomized control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of household economic strengthening on child violence and protection. That latter project is being undertaken as an initiative of the CPC Learning Network’s Livelihoods and Economic Strengthening Task Force, the NGO Trickle Up, and the University of Chicago.



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