OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, February 19, 2019/ — Livestock equals wealth. It’s the timeless equation of existence in rural Africa, as true today as it was thousands of years ago, when families began their long journey across the planet, always looking for better lands to thrive in.
Thus, livestock also signifies something deeper: community, culture, a commitment to traditional values and family values – all crucial tools in restoring vulnerable migrants to lives of purpose and dignity after they return to their homes, especially from a failed migration that may leave the returnee hopelessly in debt.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Government of Burkina Faso, and with funding from the European Union, is supporting the establishment of livestock farmer groups in Burkina Faso.
In Centre-East and Centre-South of Burkina Faso, the two main regions of origin for migrants leaving this country, IOM has provided about 500 sheep, rams, oxen and donkeys to 99 Burkinabè who returned from Libya and Algeria in 2018 to ensure their socio-economic reintegration in the country.
To support their sustainable reintegration, the returnees received – in addition to this in-kind assistance – training in business management, cooperative operation and livestock farming techniques. The training sessions, provided throughout the year by the technical partners of the National Employment Agency (ANPE) and the Regional Directorates of Animal and Fisheries Resources, have enabled them to acquire the necessary skills to ensure the sustainability of their activities.
“The training enabled me to learn the techniques of cattle fattening. Visiting the farms not only allowed us to put in practice farming techniques, but also to see that fattening, if conducted according to the techniques, is efficient,” says Iryassa, from the Centre-South Region.
“Farmers gave us useful tips,” he added. “Now we can work in our country and, thank God, we will succeed. It is better to have 500,000 CFA in your country than millions abroad.”
Osseni, another Burkinabé migrant who returned in September 2017, received reintegration assistance. He is from the Central-East Region of the country and had sold everything to go to Libya.
“I started up my livestock farming activities with the support of IOM, which bought me oxen and equipment. I like livestock farming because I achieve success and it has helped me to build my house. My parents are very happy to see me back home alive,” he explained.
In 2018, 1249 Burkinabé migrants received reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Funded by the European Union, this project aims to contribute to the strengthening of migration governance, protection, assisted voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of returning migrants. The random drawing for the distribution of cattle. Returned migrants had to pick a slip of paper from a bag to find out what cattle they would win. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee. APO Group