The city of Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and has a population of over 1.5 million. It is the country’s largest and most important city, and its population has been steadily increasing over recent decades and continues to do so. Many people move here from rural areas in hope of a better life, and the city is also home to a lot of refugees from neighbouring countries. Poverty in the city is widespread and unemployment is high, especially amongst youth. In addition, many families live in very poor conditions, lacking proper housing or access to basic sanitation or medical care.
Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Ouagadougou.
In urban Ouagadougou, unemployment continues to be a problem, especially amongst the young. In addition, the seasonal and often difficult nature of rural, agricultural work means that thousands migrate to the city each year in search of work, but this is simply not available. This influx of people adds to the existing poverty in the city. The precarious socioeconomic situation, in combination with internal migration, makes many families incredibly vulnerable. Children, young people and women are mostly affected. For instance, around 23% of young people between the age of 15 and 24 are neither in school nor have a formal job. Life for these young people is very tough and unlikely to improve without support mechanisms.
The city of Ouagadougou has been growing significantly over the past years, as internal migrants and refugees from abroad move here in hope for a better life. However, this continues to increase pressure on existing infrastructure and many families end up living in extremely poor conditions.
While most people have access to safe drinking water sources, only half of households have proper sanitation facilities, such as toilets. This increases the risk of contracting certain diseases, which can be particularly dangerous for children. At the same time, medical services are often poor or do not exist at all in these overcrowded areas of the city.