Burkina Faso

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CRS in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel region of Africa, a semiarid band below the Sahara that runs from Senegal in the west to the Indian Ocean in the east. About 80% of the working population relies on agriculture and livestock rearing as their means of living. Most farmers here operate at a subsistence level, so recurring prolonged droughts and severe floods often lead to widespread, chronic food shortages. The country's economy is highly susceptible to fluctuations in world commodity prices and natural disasters.

Historically one of Africa’s most stable nations, Burkina Faso is currently in a political transition period following the resignation of long-term President Blaise Compaore in October 2014. Low levels of education, gender inequality, and the persistence of preventable diseases and malnutrition continue to compromise the country's ability to meet its basic needs.


People Served: 2,451,712 (FY 2014: 484,424 direct; 1,967,288 indirect)

Population: 18,365,123 (July 2014 est.)

Size: 105,869 sq mi; slightly larger than Colorado

CRS' History in Burkina Faso

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was established in Burkina Faso in 1960, following the invitation of the country's bishops. As the first and longest-standing international development organization in the country, CRS began its work by providing humanitarian and food aid to Burkina Faso shortly after its independence from France. In 1962, CRS expanded its mandate, providing education assistance, especially school feeding. Current programs include education, agriculture, health/nutrition, WASH, emergency response, support to Malian refugees, and savings-led microfinance with annual budgets of between $17 and $20 million.