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Burkina Faso


Burkina Faso is among the world's poorest countries, with a high rate of illiteracy. Solidar Switzerland has been involved since 1994 in developing a model of bi-lingual education, including the local vernaculars alongside the official French. As a result of our efforts, this innovative concept has spread across the entire country.


Landlocked Burkina Faso in West Africa is part of the Western Sahel. The vast majority of its population is rural, depending on subsistence farming and being highly susceptible to droughts. Due to lack of access to the most basic medical services, infectious diseases and malnutrition are very common.


Only Every Third Child Goes to School

Burkina Faso is among the world's poorest countries: 42% of the population subsist below the poverty line, on less than 400 Swiss Francs a year (annual GDP per capita: $1,200). The consequence is that some 60% of the population are illiterate and only every third child goes to school. Illiteracy is especially high among women and girls.

With over 60 ethnic groups and as many local languages, Burkina Faso is a multi-ethnic country. The former French colony of Upper Volta gained independence in 1960. Despite the fact that only a small minority speaks it, French has remained the official language, excluding the vast majority of the population from the educational system.


Exploring One's Own Language

The pioneering Solidar Switzerland project "Bilingual Education" means that, from their first day at school, children are educated in both their local languages and in French. The model has been adopted across the entire country and is enjoying the support of Burkina Faso's Ministry of Education.

Other elements of the Solidar
Switzerland's programme in Burkina Faso address rural development, fighting poverty, supporting women, advocacy of human rights as well as the education of children and adolescents.

These objectives are implemented by Solidar
Switzerland's partner organisations in Burkina Faso, while Solidar Suisse maintains a local coordination office with local specialists to monitor and support their work.

Sandrine Rosenberger is Solidar Switzerland's desk officer for Burkina Faso.


The Solidar Switzerland Programme in Burkina Faso enjoys the support of the Liechtensteinischer Entwicklungsdienst LED (Development Service of Liechtenstein).