Welcome to Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a very special country. We've enjoyed making videos to show you around the Bobo-Dioulasso region. While Burkina remains a poor country, our home is rich in its people and culture. For example, Bobo is the country's capital for live music. Come and see for yourself what life is like here.

Sacred fish

Fish with a bite

Silures are considered sacred in the Bobo-Dioulasso region of Burkina Faso. Locals believe these large carnivorous fish have spiritual powers.

Home cooking

Favourite foods

SOS mothers are cooking some of the children’s favourite meals, using local ingredients. Other specialities of the area are also shown, including cooked caterpillars.

Climate & Agriculture

Maize and mangoes

Much of the land in Burkina Faso is hot and dry. But rain increases further south. Here, small-scale farmers grow rice, cereals and maize, which is often cultivated beneath mango trees.

Climate

Africa is a massive continent, with a range of climates. Some regions are hot and dry, like the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts. Other parts are wet or covered in tropical rainforest. Conditions also vary by altitude, from the dry salt pans of the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points on earth) to the snowcaps (at certain times) of the highest mountains. Weather-wise, Africa has it all!

Children's stories

Our Stories

Some of the youngsters from the SOS Children’s Village at Bobo-Dioulasso have made films of stories they want to tell. Both are cautionary tales about seeking the right advice and learning from our mistakes.

Economy & Industry

'White gold' and real gold

Burkina’s economy is reliant on large exports of cotton and gold. But the country remains very poor.

Education & Jobs

An education in French

French is the language of education in Burkina Faso. Some wealthy students travel abroad to Senegal or France for their higher education.

Games & Sport

Africa is home to arguably the oldest-recorded games and sports. While some are only known through archaeology, modern-day games and sports such as Mancala/Mankala and Nubian wrestling are very much alive today.

Of course, new sports have come along to claim the attention of Africans. You may have heard of one - it's called football.

Facts & Figures

Urbanisation

A fifth of the country's population now live in the towns and cities of Burkina Faso, such as the capital Ouagadougou. Find other background facts here.

Food & Daily life

Glorious mud

Burkina is famous for its mud architecture, from the small earthen homes in rural communities to the grand mosques in cities.

Geography & Wildlife

The native animals

Burkina's lakes and rivers are home to a number of water-dwelling animals, including the African Nile Crocodile and the hippopotamus.

Hippos

A favourite animal

Awouah is keen to visit a local lake, because she wants to see her favourite animal – the hippopotamus.

Development

‘People are the real wealth of a nation.’ This is the belief of the United Nations, whose Millenium Development Goals provide a framework for improving the lives of millions.

It helps when nations are peaceful, stable and growing economically. But where even the poorest countries focus on health, education and creating fairer societies, more Africans have the chance of a better life.

History & Politics

Democracy in action

Burkina operates a multi-party democracy under its long-serving president. But slow economic progress and low living standards have led to some political protests.

Agriculture & Famine

A quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and famines can impact whole regions.

Land is available to grow more food locally, but investment is needed in  technologies such as irrigation for land to be used effectively. Farmers must also adapt to climate change if they are to feed the continent's rising population.

Foods

Africa has some of the most distinctive cuisines and flavours in the world. Food varies widely, but there are commonalities across regions. Depending on what's grown locally, dishes are also influenced by the traders, immigrants and rulers who settled across the continent. Arab, Asian and European elements blend in with traditional African cooking.

Burkina Faso map

Explore Burkina Faso

Find out about some of the best places to visit in Burkina Faso.

Music

Traditional sounds

Marie listens to a number of local instruments being played, including the balafon, djembe and kora.

People & Culture

Harmony and unity

Burkina’s many ethnic groups prize their different cultures and backgrounds, but also value harmony and unity.

Poverty & Healthcare

Health risks for the young

With endemic poverty, poor sanitation and high rates of disease, there are many risks to the health of young children in Burkina Faso.

Refugees

A safe haven

Thomas and his family are refugees. They fled their home in Ivory Coast because of war and came to live in Burkina Faso.

Tourism & Communications

A Festival Bonanza

Culture in Burkina Faso is possibly the country’s richest resource and there is a packed schedule of festivals to suit all interests.

Welcome to Burkina Faso

We are Adama and Marie. Welcome to Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso has many different groups and regions. Our videos are taken around Bobo-Dioulasso in the west. But our films should give you a feel for the country as a whole. For example, Bobo is home to a famous mud mosque, but others can be found across Burkina. Take a look at what we've found to show you.

Health

Africa has a high number of communicable diseases, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems. The vast majority of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS-related deaths occur in Africa; these two diseases currently represent the greatest threats.

With low investment in healthcare and a severe shortage of medical staff, many countries struggle to meet the health needs of their people.

History

The first humans are thought to have lived in Africa and powerful African empires formed from the medieval age onwards.

However, today's African nations were shaped by the European powers who colonised this vast continent. Having gained their independence, many African countries are still coming to terms with the legacy left by their colonisers.

Children

Around one in six children born in sub-Saharan Africa don't live to see their fifth birthday and life can be tough for those who do.

What are the common challenges facing African children and how do their lives compare with those of children in the UK?

Local beliefs

Living in harmony

Marie visits the old district of Bobo-Dioulasso and learns about its different community groups.

Poverty

Across the rest of the world, absolute poverty has halved over recent decades, but in Africa it has barely fallen.

About two-fifths of the population of sub-Saharan Africa survive week by week on what someone in the UK earns from just one hour's work on the minimum wage.

Geography & Wildlife

With its varied geography and diverse habits, the African continent is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Though famous for its 'big game' animals, Africa has huge numbers of fish, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species, as well as many tree, plant and flower species.

Women

A woman’s status varies by country and region across Africa. In many parts, women struggle against inequality in laws, education, pay and domestic responsibilities.

Women’s health is also at risk from traditional practices such as early marriage. But with better education, girls can make more informed choices, leading to the greater development of African nations.

Burkina Faso topicsFacts & FiguresPoverty & HealthcareFood & Daily lifeHome cookingPeople & CultureGeography & WildlifeClimate & AgricultureHipposMusicWelcome to Burkina FasoSacred fishEconomy & IndustryLocal beliefsEducation & JobsChildren's storiesHistory & PoliticsRefugeesBurkina Faso mapTourism & Communications