Reconversion of disabled beggars in Boulsa
The Giving for Change programme brings a smile to the faces of women in distress
At least 6 women living with a disability who were begging in the town of Boulsa have put down their wallets for good. This achievement is thanks to the Association of Disabled Women of Boulsa, beneficiaries of support from the Giving for Change programme.
Dt the age of 46, Georgette Sawadogo, who lives with a motor disability, had to flee her village of Zambanga because of the terrorist threat to her life. Her misfortune was not limited to the loss of her home, as she was forced to beg for her daily bread along the 20km stretch separating her village from the town of Boulsa. Once in the city of refuge, the market became Mrs Sawadogo's headquarters for begging for charity from strangers. Fortunately, like lightning in a cloudy sky, she was lucky enough to attend a public awareness-raising session run by the Boulsa Association of Disabled Women (AFH). "Since I joined the Association, I've stopped reaching out and, above all, feeling the contempt of strangers, because I beg," admits Georgette Sawadogo.
Now looking to the future with greater serenity, she says that she benefited from a contribution from the Association's members to set up a business. "At first, I started selling Gonré (a traditional dish made from small millet flour), but I soon realised that it wasn't as profitable as I thought, so I started fattening small ruminants and rearing poultry, and my life has changed since then," she says with satisfaction. Banaba Geneviève Ima also lives with a motor disability in Boulsa. Like Georgette, she was forced to leave her village of Boko to save her skin. Today, thanks to the Boulsa Association of Disabled Women, she has stopped standing at the entrance to Boulsa's main mosque and church in the hope of earning a few pennies. "A lot of associations make a business out of disabled people, but with Mme Honorine's Association it's really different," she says. In her opinion, thanks to the small funds made available to me by the Association, she has now started knitting and making liquid soap. "These activities allow me to live with dignity. I was looking for a way out in vain, because with the security situation, a lot of people come to do bad 'douas' and you can't do anything else," she says. The salvation of these two women living with disabilities is thanks to the AFH.
The Giving for Change programme in a nutshell
6 beneficiary regions: (North, Centre-North, Sahel, East, Centre-East, Boucle du Mouhoun)
8 partners for implementation on the ground: (Développement Sans Frontières(Ouahigouya), BenaOsegui(Dori), DagnalRoobe (GoromGorom), OCADES Caritas Burkina(Kaya), Union provinciale des associations des personnes handicapées du Bam, (Kongoussi), OCADES Caritas Burkina(Koupèla), Yanyéma Fada N'Gourma and OCADES Caritas Burkina (Dédougou))
40 associations being set up -2 medium-term impacts: the government adopts laws and regulations that encourage local and national donations for development; international donors adapt their strategies by encouraging the empowerment of women and children.
2 long-term impacts: communities express their voice through CSAs and are empowered to take control of their own development; government and opinion leaders are accountable and respect human rights.
The benefits of the programme
For the Association's President, Nobila Honorine Kalkoumdo, the withdrawal of disabled women from begging is the result of putting into practice the modules on mobilising support and endogenous resources as part of the Giving for Change (GfC) programme. This programme is coordinated at national level by the Association burkinabè de fundraising (ABF). In the Centre-Nord region, it is being implemented by the Catholic Organisation for Development and Solidarity (OCADES) Kaya. According to Vincent Sawadogo, one of the trainers, the programme consists of several training modules, in particular the mobilisation of support and the mobilisation of endogenous funding for five civil society actors, including the Association of Disabled Women of Boulsa. After capacity building," he continues, "each CSO is encouraged to put the skills acquired into practice. As a resource person, Mr Sawadogo is delighted with the results achieved by the Association of Disabled Women. "Thanks to the modules provided, we now know how to mobilise and manage endogenous funding, how to mobilise support within the community and even how to carry out our activities effectively. As a result, we have taken on new members, able-bodied people who help us make soap", says Ms Kalkoumdo. She confides that disabled people who used to beg every Friday outside mosques and Sundays outside churches have also joined them and are taking part in the meetings. "They now know that begging won't help them out of their precarious situation, but on the contrary, by working within the Association, they will have enough to meet their needs. There are a total of 6 disabled women who are also internally displaced persons", says the President of the AFH. And the association's general secretary, Martine Damiba, adds that in the past, meetings were a time for arguments, and always ended in deadlock. "Thanks to the training we received as part of the Giving for Change programme, everything has changed. No one outside the Association knows about our problems. We help each other out. At each weekly meeting, we collect contributions and decide who we're going to lend to so that they can run an IGA. These contributions are part of the mobilisation of local resources," she points out.
The culture of local giving
The Giving for Change programme is a five-year programme covering the period 2021-2024, which, according to ABF Managing Director Abdoulaye Sawadogo, has been developed on the basis of the achievements of a previous programme called Change the Game Academy. "Its distinctive feature is that the beneficiaries' actions must be carried out with the support of all the players, namely the political, religious and customary authorities", he stresses. The idea, he points out, is to ensure the sustainability of the projects through co-responsibility, because each member of the community contributes in his or her own way to carrying out the project, thus giving the chance to make a useful investment. According to him, its implementation is based on 3 interdependent areas. The first involves promoting and enhancing the culture of local giving by building the capacity of local CSAs to achieve their mission of endogenous development. Through the 2nd pillar, ABF and the programme's communities of practice, i.e. the beneficiaries, are working to influence the country's national and societal players to support and encourage local and national giving for endogenous development. The final area of intervention is to convince international donors to prioritise the empowerment and capacity-building of local CHWs in order to strengthen their credibility. According to Mr Sawadogo, the programme is the joint product of a global alliance of 4 international NGOs and 6 national CSOs based in Africa, one in Palestine and one in Brazil. It sets out a bold vision for transforming the way development is done. "Civil society actors (CSOs) in Burkina Faso have immense potential to leverage development. Unfortunately, their credibility is often tested because they are seen as serving politics. As a result, most international donors are unaware of the potential of CSAs. Yet CSAs are responsible for locating and filling gaps in public service. They also lobby, ensure the implementation of the law, accountability and transparency, and build the capacity of members and the public through training and awareness-raising", the ABF CEO believes.
source Sidwaya /Société & Culture / No. 9961 of Tuesday 29 August 2023