Strengthening the rights of women, children and young people

Programme description

Title: Human rights / sexual health, Burkina Faso
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Burkina Faso
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l'Economie et des Finances
Overall term: 2004 to 2015

Burkina Faso. © GIZ


Burkina Faso faces many challenges: rapid population growth, youth unemployment, low literacy rates, work-related emigration of its children, and child trafficking. Women, children and young people are particularly disadvantaged. They are rarely included in political and social decision-making processes and are often the victims of discrimination and human rights violations, such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage and domestic violence. Although the practice of female genital mutilation was declared illegal in 1996, its decline is slow. At 18, nearly half of young women are mothers.

Despite obligatory school attendance nationwide and a national plan to implement ‘education for all’, only one-third of all boys and one-quarter of all girls have finished primary school. Five per cent of children between the ages of 6 and 15 are working in neighbouring countries or cities – without their parents.


Women, men and young people exercise their rights and make use of the available opportunities and services in connection with sexual and reproductive health as well as the prevention of discrimination and traditional practices that violate human rights, child trafficking and the worst forms of child labour.


The programme advises and assists the partner ministries in the development of national strategies. In the south-west and eastern parts of the country where it operates, the programme works directly with the decentralised government structures of the partner ministries and with civil society organisations and the private sector, especially the transport and cotton sectors.

Key topics are the sexual and reproductive health of young people, family planning and population policy, strengthening women’s rights, protecting girls and women against violence, especially against the human rights violation of female genital mutilation, strengthening children’s rights, and the fight against the worst forms of child labour and child trafficking.

There is a strong emphasis on educating the population using forms of communication tailored to the specific target groups, such as family dialogues, theatre groups and film presentations with discussions afterwards in the villages, and audio-visual media in the various local languages.

Government and municipal service providers use the programme to improve the quality of their services, for example the family planning services for the sexual education of young people in health and youth centres. The programme supports the transport and cotton sectors in their efforts to combat child trafficking and child labour. Municipalities have introduced measures at local level to protect children. Parent associations have been established in schools to increase the enrolment rate and reduce the number of school dropouts.


Family planning services run by the municipalities were able to increase the rate of contraceptive users from 2.6 to 17.6 per cent in the east and from 7.7 to 22.4 per cent in the south-west between 2003 and 2012. Female genital mutilation declined. Nationwide, 73 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are circumcised, whereas nowadays 30 per cent of girls up to 14 years of age are circumcised. The average is around 4 per cent (2013) in the villages where the programme’s educational work is carried out. 

Burkina Faso © GIZ

The school enrolment rate increased, especially for girls, as a result of the work being done to raise awareness of children’s rights. Enrolment rose from 30 per cent (2003/04) to 43.9 per cent (2012/13) in the east and from 19 per cent (2003/04) to 58.8 per cent (2012/13) in the south-west. The number of school dropouts declined. The percentage of children between the ages of 6 and 17 who migrate without their parents for work purposes sank from an average of 7.6 per cent (2004/05) to under 2 per cent (2013).