Water, the source of life and harmony: The triumph of social cohesion in the Mouhoun loop, Burkina Faso

Water, the source of life and harmony: The triumph of social cohesion in the Mouhoun loop, Burkina Faso

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In the relentless quest for sustainable harmony among various actors in pastoralism and agriculture, an extraordinary project has emerged in the Mouhoun Loop region of Burkina Faso. This initiative, focused on social cohesion and peaceful pastoral mobility, stands as a beacon of development for rural communities. It embodies the very essence of ROPPA’s weekly column “Les Pépites des Exploitations Familiales” (The Gems of Family Farms), which celebrates its 30th edition. At the heart of this adventure, the association Water and Environment for Community Development (EEDC) has played a key role. Founded in July 2020, EEDC quickly established itself as a major player in promoting sustainable water resource management. Their flagship project, the development of water supply for pastoral purposes, has been a preventive tool against community conflicts and a catalyst for the development of pastoral activities.

The main challenge was to reduce tensions between herders and farmers, often exacerbated by the scarcity and uneven distribution of water. The project established water supply systems specifically for pastoral needs, alongside water points for human consumption and agricultural activities. This approach significantly reduced the pressure on common water sources and promoted peaceful coexistence.

The innovation of this project lies in its participative approach. All stakeholders – herders, farmers, women, youth, and local authorities – were involved from the outset, ensuring broad social acceptance and adherence. The beneficiaries were directly involved in planning and implementation, contributing to a sense of ownership and shared responsibility.

The results are tangible: reduced conflicts around water points, improved quality of life for communities, and strengthened social cohesion. The project also created attractive zones for pasture, thus improving the health of the animals and, by extension, the economic conditions of the herders.

This success offers valuable lessons. The experience in the Mouhoun Loop highlights the importance of social intermediation, active communication, and community engagement in natural resource management. It also demonstrates that sustainable and peaceful solutions emerge when communities are at the heart of decisions that affect them.

As we celebrate this 30th edition, the Mouhoun Loop experience reminds us how much local solutions, infused with the wisdom and expertise of the communities, are essential for sustainable pastoral development. It’s a story that deserves to be shared and replicated.

To learn more about this revolutionary project and to download the capitalization document, go to the ROPPA website: https://roppa-afrique.org/water-the-source-of-life-and-harmony-the-triumph-of-social-cohesion-in-the-mouhoun-loop-burkina-faso/