Burkina Faso

Hunger from Conflict & Climate

The arid, Sahel nation faces a multidimensional crisis driven by conflict, political instability and the climate crisis. Millions are going hungry. WFP is delivering immediate food assistance and helping people build resilience against climate shocks.

Drought and conflict in Burkina Faso are driving people from their homes and into poverty and hunger.


of the population lives below the poverty line on less than $2 a day

2.1 M

people are internally displaced from their homes.


people are on the brink of starvation. 

Burkina Faso Facts

Population: 22.1 million people.

Background: Burkina Faso gained its independence from France in 1960 as Upper Volta, then renamed to Burkina Faso in 1984.

Geography & Climate: As a landlocked country in West Africa, Burkina Faso is bordered by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The country has a tropical climate with a rainy and dry season. Located in the Sahel Region, it is highly susceptible to extreme weather events of droughts and flooding.

Economy: On the Human Development Index, Burkina Faso ranks 184 out of 191 countries. 40% of its population lives below the poverty line and over 80% rely on subsistence agriculture for their food.

What is Causing Hunger in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso, Sanmatenga, Kaya, 12 November 2019 The Central Sahel region faces a toxic cocktail of rapidly escalating armed conflict, population displacement, hunger, and widespread poverty – all compounded by the severe impacts of climate change. In Burkina Faso alone, the number of people displaced internally has increased by more than 500% since the start of 2019. Malnutrition has been pushed well above emergency thresholds – affecting young children and pregnant/breastfeeding women especially. WFP is working to assist 1.3 million people in Burkina Faso alone and 4.1 million across the entire Central Sahel region. In the Photo: A mother and her child shortly after arriving at a government facility where new internally displaced people are registered before receiving WFP assistance in Kaya, north of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. They arrived here after walking hundreds of miles escaping armed insurgency in the northern part of the country. Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad
Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad

Conflict & Instability

For decades, Burkina Faso has experienced internal conflict, marked by transitions of power through military coups. In the past several years, armed groups have carried out violent attacks throughout Burkina Faso, resulting in deaths and mass displacement. The country has also experienced recent political instability, with two separate military coups in 2022 alone.

Three women, one digging the ground with a pickaxe, another holding a daba and the third scooping up the dirt with a shovel, are working on building a half-moon. Tilly is a village some fifteen kilometres from Ouahigouya, the capital of the Nord region of Burkina Faso. Several hectares of land in the village have been degraded. As part of its work to strengthen the resilience of the local population, the World Food Programme (WFP) has initiated rehabilitation work on degraded land. In 2021, internally displaced people in Tilly and host communities worked side by side to restore 8 hectares of degraded, unproductive land by building half-moons. The half-moons were cultivated during the 2022 agricultural season and the villagers harvested beans and sorghum. As the 2023 rainy season approaches, local people are working to renew their assets by giving the half-moons a new life. They plan to continue exploiting this area for the production of cereals and pulses.

Climate Extremes

Burkina Faso is highly vulnerable to climate shocks. Over the past four decades, Burkina Faso has experienced accelerated deforestation, desertification and soil erosion. Pockets of drought that swing into intense flooding wreak havoc on the land. In 2022, heavy rains and floods across West Africa destroyed crops and caused mass displacement. With 80% of the population dependent on agriculture for food and income, the country’s food security is highly vulnerable to these climate shocks.

Recent History


Compaoré’s Rule

Since its independence, Burkina Faso has experienced repeated military coups. In 1987, Blaise Compaore removed the former president and remained in power for 27 years until 2014.

Throughout his rule, there were several instances of protests, riots and strikes in response to rising food prices and high costs of living.


Violent Transition of Power

In 2014, an attempt to extend Compaoré’s rule led to protests throughout the country. In October, these protests grew increasingly violent and forced Compaoré to resign.

A transitional government was put in place, but in September of 2015, a coup dissolved the government. More violent protests occurred as a result. Soon after, a deal was brokered to reinstate the transitional government, and elections held in November 2015 resulted in Roch Marc Christian Kaboré being democratically elected president.


Increasing Armed Attacks

Throughout these years, armed militant groups carried out multiple attacks on civilian populations, creating a humanitarian crisis.

Thousands of schools were closed, over a million people were displaced, and more then 3 million people became food insecure. Humanitarian resources have also been attacked and looted. WFP provided monthly food and cash assistance to displaced people.

Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad


Multiple Coups and Unprecedented Flooding

In 2022, Burkina Faso experienced two military coups. In January, President Kaboré was ousted in a military coup and Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba seized power. Then, in September, Captain Ibrahim Traoré removed Damiba from his office. Violent protests occurred in and outside the capital city Ouagadougou.

In October of 2022, above-average rainfall across West and Central Africa caused flooding in 19 countries, including Burkina Faso. The floods displaced people and destroyed crops, pushing more people into hunger. WFP provided emergency food and utilized helicopter drops for hard-to-reach places.

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WFP’s Work in Burkina Faso

We’ve been in Burkina Faso since 1967. Through conflict and climate disasters, we’ve provided food for people in need. Even as increasing violence causes more displacement and poses a security risk for WFP operations, we continue to deliver food and help build resiliency against climate shocks, helping over 2 million people in Burkina Faso last year.

Food Relief

Following a rise in violent attacks and increased displacements, we provide monthly food and cash assistance to internally displaced persons (IDP’s) across the country.

Photo: WFP/Mahamady Ouedraogo
School Meals

Since 2004, we have been supporting the government by implementing a school meals program across the Sahel region, including take-home rations. Last year, we fed over 200,000 children.

Photo: WFP/Simon Pierre Diouf
Child Nutrition

With 25% of children under 5 suffering from stunting, we aim to prevent and treat malnutrition in children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls.

Photo: WFP/Mahamady Ouedraogo
Resilience Building

We help farmers to be more resilient against climate shocks by providing storage technologies, training to reduce food loss and through insurance in towns likely to be affected by drought.

Photo: WFP/Evelyn Fey/2021
Photo: WFP/Mahamady Ouedraogo

Help Save Lives by Sending Food

When you donate, you help us deliver critical food assistance to the most vulnerable people in Burkina Faso and other countries around the world. You can make difference in someone’s life – send food today.