Educating people about risks is a means of giving them hope
In Burkina Faso, communities are exposed to the threat of explosive ordnance every day. HI's teams are providing risk education in a very tense security context.
A risk awareness session delivered by HI. | © HI
In Burkina Faso, huge numbers of people face violence and exactions from armed groups. Many have been forced to flee their homes to find safety. To help relieve their distress and uncertainty, HI teams are working with communities to inform them about and protect them from the dangers of explosive ordnance.
A worsening context
The security situation in Burkina Faso, because of raids and exactions by armed groups, has rendered some areas difficult to access. The situation is at its worst in the Sahel region where the conflicts are the most intense, but there are major difficulties everywhere, including in the East.
Security issues have prevented HI teams from accessing many areas. In recent years, measures taken by HI have helped to reduce the areas in need of interventions. HI teams have sometimes had to suspend their activity because armed groups were on their doorstep.
To overcome some of these difficulties, HI’s teams broadcast awareness-raising messages on local radio stations as a way of reaching physically inaccessible areas. These messages are broadcast in the main languages spoken in these areas, so that everyone can understand them: French, Fulfulde, Mooré and Gulmancéma in the East, and French, Mooré, Tamacheq and Fulfulde in the Sahel.
Key protection messages
In the communities, HI's teams focus on prevention to reduce the number of accidents caused by explosive ordnance. Communities are first taught how to spot an explosive device, and then how to behave when they find themselves in a risky situation. There are right and wrong behaviours, so it's important to know what and what not to do. HI also teaches communities how to identify hazardous areas and raises awareness of the psychological, physical and economic impact of explosive devices.
HI’s teams also organise one-day training sessions for community leaders, who help to convey the messages to their community. The same goes for teachers, who pass the information on to their students. The teams also distribute flyers, bags, mugs and other items with key awareness messages printed on them.
Raising awareness of risks is useful work
Between April 2022 and August 2023, HI teams informed more than 21,300 people in the East and Sahel regions about the risks associated with explosive ordnance.