Women in Burkina Faso take control of their destiny through vocational training

The Formation au Service du Leadership Féminin (FORSELF) project, developed by Aide et Action in Ouagadougou, enables women who have not received any education to learn a trade and engage in income generating activities. Mariam and Adama testify and underline the importance of this approach for their autonomy.

In Burkina Faso, a number of obstacles prevent women from accessing entrepreneurship and thus from playing a full role in society. A low level of education and qualification, a high illiteracy rate, difficulties in accessing credit, family or socio-cultural constraints... There are many obstacles to the economic emancipation of women. 

Improve women's living conditions in a sustainable way

To address this situation, Aide et Action has set up a vocational training project especially dedicated to women in the country's capital. Entitled "Formation au Service du Leadership Féminin" (FORSELF), it aims at improving their living conditions in a sustainable manner through the promotion of income-generating activities and the development of micro-enterprises.

Among the project's beneficiaries, Mariam and Adama illustrate the impact of training on the lives of Burkinabè. Both of them had little schooling and learned their trades on the job, thanks to their individual will and commitment. One became a hairdresser and the other a seamstress, but they realised that their qualifications were not enough to develop.

Access to new opportunities

Mariam is 40 years old and the mother of five children. Because of her family's financial difficulties, she had to drop out of school in the fifth grade. But Mariam is not resigned to this, she wants to gain her independence. " I didn't want to sell the pancakes like my mothershe says. I wanted to become a hairdresser. "Determined, she befriended a neighbour who worked in the trade and learned from her. She worked with her until she married and then decided to set up her own business. But she soon realises that her abilities are limited. 

She then heard about the FORSELF project initiated and implemented by Aide et Action and decided to participate. " I received two training courses on hair styles, make-up, nail art, pedicure and manicure, says Mariam. I learnt a lot of things that I didn't know at all. In addition, the training also includes a literacy component, which was a great asset for me ". At the end of her apprenticeship, Mariam moved her workshop from her husband's home to the Tabtenga market, located in a peri-urban area, and joined forces with another FORSELF project beneficiary. The salon is now running at full capacity.

Necessary support and guidance

For Adama, the same is true. After learning to sew on her own and practising this activity for several years, she realised that she lacked something to succeed further. She then turned to Aide et Action. " The FORSELF project is very good. I benefited from a training course that allowed me to learn new cuts and thus to expand my offer and my clientele. I finally opened my own workshop "She is now taking on three young women as apprentices to share her knowledge.

Literacy was necessary for me. I enjoyed reading, writing and calculating. It helps me in my work. I read my measurements easily. I write better too. I am very satisfied. In addition, the digital tablet that was provided to her through the training and which she was trained on, is making a big difference to her daily life. She makes good use of it by easily sharing her catalogue of models with her customers, without having to carry everything.

With support and guidance, these two fighting women have been able to improve their living conditions considerably. Previously limited to precarious and low-paying activities, they can now dream bigger. With the support of the project, each of them has rediscovered her profession and has access to new opportunities and new perspectives.

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