Social and Employment
Ouagadoudou, Burkina Faso
Éric de Laguiche, Veolia Water
40,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2005/10/04
SamuSocial Burkina Faso
« Ouagadougou is the capital of an extremely poor country – listed 170th on the UN's Human Development Index – but it is also a working, functioning city.. We can see evidence of this every day. For the past twenty years the city and the country have undertaken basic, practical and sustainable action programmes. The authorities and the population itself have taken responsibility for their development. This positive trend must be encouraged. »
In a desperate attempt to escape poverty, many young people in Burkina Faso, try their luck in the capital, Ouagadougou. The city has seen a massive influx of people in recent years: between 1985 and 2003, the population soared from 440,000 to over one million.
This uncontrolled influx has given rise to new problems including the growing number of children who can now be seen living on the streets without adult support. Concerned about the future of these children, in 2001, the wife of the French ambassador set up "Samusocial Burkina Faso". Its goal is to help children at risk by providing them with support and shelter. But, beyond these emergency solutions, the end goal of the process is to get these children back to their own families which are often in the countryside.
Patrols to lend a helping hand
Based on the "Samusocial de Paris", the Ouagadoudou organisation is operating patrols five days and five nights each week in order to locate these unfortunate children and provide them with assistance. During patrols in an run-down, clearly marked ambulance or on mopeds, the staff identify those whose needs are most pressing. Children suffering from malaria, victims of violence or those with psychological disorders which require treatment...the emergency reception centre has a permanent intake of around fifteen (very) young people. The Samusocial staff generally come across twenty new cases every month and regularly assist thirty or so children in the day care centre.
But the old ambulance has put in the miles and is now on its last legs.
The "Samusocial Burkina Faso" has therefore asked the Veolia foundation to provide 40,000 euros in funding to cover the cost of a specially converted light truck and a liaison vehicle.Since then, the light truck continues to take healthcare out onto the streets, courting the young.
And the liaison vehicle is used to conduct enquiries with the families when they are identified, and try to take then home when a match has been made.