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Burkina Faso: UNICEF to reach 5 million people in one month with lifesaving interventions and information for children

80,000 adolescents and youths to be directly targeted with good hygiene promotion, health and nutritional practices, and prevention of female genital mutilation and child marriage


OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO – WEBWIRE
© UNICEF
© UNICEF

Between 9 June and 18 July, UNICEF and partners will reach at least 5 million people, including adolescents and youths, across Burkina Faso with lifesaving interventions and information on the prevention of child malnutrition and waterborne diseases, while also promoting exclusive breastfeeding, birth registration, and boys’ and girls’ education.

“Adolescents and young people are the driving force of Burkina Faso. When they are well-skilled and well-equipped and given equal chances, the youths will become changemakers and will uplift their communities. In times of emergency, young people need to have the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and their communities. Investing in young people is essential to multiply gains for the well-being of women and children,” says Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF Representative in Burkina Faso.

The caravan, named ‘Faso Jeunes’, will visit 8 out of 13 Burkina Faso regions, reaching at least 5 million people with lifesaving information while directly targeting 80,000 adolescents and youths with messages on good hygiene, health and nutritional practices, preventing female genital mutilation and child marriage as well as fact-checking to fight misinformation. It also aims to immunize 3,200 people against hepatitis B, the main cause of liver cancer, causing around 5,000 deaths per year in Burkina.

The event is built around U-Report, a youth movement with 153,000 subscribers across the country who receive a stream of information about children’s rights and share their thoughts on the situation for children. In total, 3,200 youths will be trained and attend theatre, parades and concerts organised with two young singers, four digital influencers, and one national Goodwill Ambassador mobilized to disseminate messages. The caravan also sensitises climate change effects and seeks to reinforce social cohesion.

The caravan comes at a time when Burkina Faso is experiencing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with more children and families than ever before at heightened risk of illness due to diseases and malnutrition, dropping out of school, and experiencing abuse and violence. Currently, an estimated 5.5 million people require humanitarian assistance in the country, including 3.2 million children caught in the conflict. More than 2 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, 58 per cent of whom are children.

Due to armed attacks and insecurity, more than 830,000 people lost access to safe drinking water, 345 health centres remain closed, and 375 are operating at minimal levels, reducing access to health services for more than 3.4 million people. In Burkina Faso’s Centre Region, home to many displaced families, the number of children treated for severe acute malnutrition increased by 50 per cent in 2022 compared to the previous year. 

Additionally, 1 in 4 schools has had to shut their doors this year due to insecurity and conflict, depriving more than a million students of their right to education and increasing their risk of dropping out. Already 50 per cent of school-aged children are estimated to have never attended school. 

From January to April 2023, UNICEF scaled up its response to the humanitarian crisis:

  • 62 schools implemented the double-shift approach to provide additional spaces for displaced children to access classrooms. UNICEF and its partners also set up a radio education programme to maintain educational continuity for 630,000 internally displaced children and some 150 temporary learning spaces to enrol over 7,400 displaced children.
  • 30,700 children suffering severe wasting were treated, and nearly 355,000 pregnant and lactating mothers received counselling services on infant and young child feeding. Some 19,000 mothers were trained in acute malnutrition screening at the community level.
  • UNICEF provided access to drinking water to 111,000 people and adequate sanitation facilities to 22,000 people while providing essential water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies to 127,000 people.
  • Some 139,220 children under 5 received treatment for diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria using the Integrated Childhood Care Management (ICCM) approach in regions most affected by the crisis.
  • 73,120 children with disabilities benefited from mental health and psychosocial support in fixed and mobile child-friendly spaces, 179 unaccompanied and separated children benefited from alternative care and 102 children were reunited with their families.
  • 28,750 people were reached by messages on mitigating and preventing gender-based violence, while 13,360 were provided with safe and accessible channels to report cases of sexual and economic exploitation.


UNICEF requires US$226.7 million in 2023 to continue to reach children and vulnerable populations with lifesaving goods and services. To date, only 9 per cent of funding has been allocated.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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