Burkina Faso: Abdoul Dramane Bamogo, Social Worker

Abdoul Dramane Bamogo, social worker in Burkina Faso

Social worker Abdoul Dramane Bamogo talks to young people about the implications of sex with the goal of reducing the number of teenage pregnancies and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in Burkina Faso. GIZ is running the global BACKUP Health programme on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to assist health actors in Burkina Faso with specifically addressing young people on the subject of preventing and treating HIV/AIDS. Since 2018, almost 17,000 boys and girls in Burkina Faso have made use of the advisory services and taken voluntary HIV tests.

What is it specifically that you do?

I work in a local health authority in Ouagadougou with a high HIV rate. The virus is especially on the rise among young people. Unfortunately, teenage and unwanted pregnancies are also all too common. Young people are not provided with any practical information on safe sex and contraception. Because I offer them guidance on all aspects of sexuality and HIV prevention, they have come to regard me as an impartial person whom they can trust.

How exactly do you support your young compatriots?

As a young social worker, I interact with my brothers and sisters on an equal footing. I listen to them carefully when they tell me about their fears and concerns. I show them ways to overcome these fears and avoid high-risk behaviour. This helps them develop greater self-confidence, which is key to engaging responsibly with issues of sexuality. In particular, my work should help young women to make and learn to communicate their own decisions.

But isn’t sex education really embarrassing for everyone involved?

I try to create an informal atmosphere. The awareness-raising initiatives are well received by students in the participating schools. Youth centres and one-to-one discussions provide a safe space in which it is easier to build a rapport with young people and, for example, advise them to take a preventative HIV test.

How have you benefited from the work of GIZ?

BACKUP Health financed a training course on reproductive health for 70 selected social workers, run by a local organisation. Ongoing coaching has enabled me to progressively improve my approach. We have worked with the Ministry of Health and civil society organisations to develop a dedicated, preventative advisory approach for young people and introduced it in schools, youth centres and voluntary testing centres.

What are your plans and hopes for the future?

I hope that my generation will take good care of itself and not spoil its future through recklessness. I intend to set up an online platform in order to reach as many young people as possible with my message. It will offer interesting, multimedia information in conjunction with anonymous, accessible and non-discriminatory advisory services.

Talking and listening to people and offering them advice – all in a day’s work for Abdoul Dramane Bamogo from Burkina Faso.

The 28-year-old social worker has been involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS for many years. He turned his voluntary work into a career and brings sex education into schools.

His sex education classes are designed to empower young people to take a responsible approach to their sexuality that takes account of their own and their partners’ interests.

Sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and preventative measures – impartial and accurate information helps school students to develop their own viewpoint.

Bamogo builds a rapport with the young people through his light-hearted, yet purposeful approach. He seeks to work with them to develop a positive attitude towards safe sex.

Providing youth-friendly support and advice in regard to sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health helps young people to take control of planning their own future.

Young women especially need self-confidence in order to guard themselves against sexual violence and avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Bamogo seizes opportunities to advise individuals. Young people are more likely to talk about their sexual behaviour and agree to an anonymous HIV test in a one-to-one context.

HIV tests are a crucial preventative measure. Taken on a voluntary basis and handled anonymously, they provide young people with certainty regarding their status.

Bamogo intends to develop an online platform that allows young people to access information about sexual issues easily and on an anonymous and equal basis.

Group photo with a condom – even with a serious issue such as HIV/AIDS prevention, a little humour has its place.

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