Burkina Faso is home to over 21 million people, spread across more than 60 different ethnics groups that each have their own social and cultural distinctions. The overwhelming majority of people make their living from subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to drought, floods and in recent times, locust plagues.
Burkina Faso has a very young population: 43 per cent is under 14 and two-thirds younger than 30 years old. Many young people are frustrated by the lack of opportunity for education and reliable work. Almost one-third of primary school-aged students aren’t enrolled; instead, they often work the land in an attempt to boost their family’s income.
As millions of Burkinabes struggle to meet their daily needs, the ever-present threats of food and water scarcity across the nation make life more tenuous. Poor health is also a significant barrier to Burkina Faso’s development. Approximately 27 per cent of children in the country suffer from moderate or severe growth stunting caused by chronic malnutrition during early childhood. The country currently holds one of the highest infant mortality rates of all of countries in which Compassion works, with approximately 54 infants dying for every 1000 born.