More than 1.5 million children under five in Burkina Faso, over one-third of all children in this age bracket, are facing a nutrition crisis, Save the Children warned today.
Currently, nearly 13 million people are facing a lack of food in Burkina Faso, nearly half of them are children. Violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, worsening the plight of children. The eastern and central-northern regions of the country are among the worst affected, as 670,000 children had to flee their homes with their families.
The insecurity in rural areas means that many families cannot work their fields or keep their animals, two main sources of income and food. Out of fear of being attacked or recruited by armed groups, many adolescents and men can’t work if that involves travelling beyond their communities. This leaves many households reliant on humanitarian support, Save the Children said.
To support the most vulnerable communities and children, Save the Children has helped more than 170,000 children over the past year, including those living in displacement camps.
Fadimata*, 14 months, became malnourished following attacks that forced her and her mother Hawa* to flee. Save the Children’s support through baby-friendly spaces enabled Hawa* to improve her daughter’s health.
“When I went to the baby-friendly space in Kaya, I took part in demonstration classes, particularly on the preparation of enriched porridge and on baby care. Fadimata* is recovering. Before that, I had no real knowledge of children’s nutrition and I had never benefited from the distribution of supplements. I can see the positive effects on my child, as well as on the other kids”, said Hawa*.
According to the UN more than $600 million is needed to meet the growing humanitarian needs in Burkina Faso. In the first three months of 2021 only 3.7% of this budget has been covered. For specific nutrition needs, only $2.8 million out of $46.4 million has been secured, leaving a huge funding gap, Save the Children warned. COVID-19 has worsened an already tense situation, meaning that especially vulnerable children are paying the highest price.
“We must focus on malnourished children, as their wellbeing, their futures or sometimes even their lives are at risk. Growing insecurity and the impact of climate change compounds the problem by disrupting food production and household economies. The situation is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to move to other communities to live with host families that are already living in difficult conditions themselves. Meaning there’s not enough food, particularly nutritious food for children,” said Eric Hazard, Interim Country Director for Save the Children in Burkina Faso.
Source: Save the Children