Climate Change and Women Farmers in Burkina Faso

Impact and adaptation policies and practices

Publication date: 13 July 2011
Author: Ana Romero, Adama Belemvire, independent consultants, and Saya Saulière, Intermón Oxfam

Burkina Faso’s geographical situation makes it particularly vulnerable to climate change. Situated in the Sahel in the heart of western Africa, Burkina Faso suffers an extreme, variable climate: the same area can be affected by both flooding and drought within only a few months. The economy of this largely rural country is essentially based on agriculture and stockbreeding. According to predictions, climate change will have an impact on agricultural production and food security, and will therefore affect inhabitants of rural areas, especially those who are most vulnerable, such as women.

This report aims to analyze the specific impact of climate change on women in Burkina Faso’s agricultural sector, and to analyze how gender and women are taken into account in national adaptation and rural development policies and programs. It examines adaptation practices aimed at women and the outcomes of such practices in terms of both gender and adaptation.

Key recommendations from the report:

Recommendations for taking women’s vulnerability into account in climate change adaptation:

At institutional level

  • Involve rural communities, especially women, in the planning and carrying out of climate change adaptation initiatives in development and adaptation plans and policies.
  • Promote women’s access to agricultural-extension services and training on farming adaptation techniques. Improve women’s access to credit and the inputs needed to increase agricultural yield.

At organizational level

  • Work on identifying and eliminating factors that limit women’s capacity to adapt. Give women training so that they can develop their adaptation skills, and promote medium- and long-term strategic changes in order to achieve greater gender equality.
  • Promote women’s access to adaptation techniques: water- and soil-conservation techniques, use of improved seeds, diversification of crops, composting and horticulture.