In three short weeks, I will be travelling to the capital of Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou. (Pronounced WA-ga-DO-goo). I could not be more excited to embark on what will likely be my biggest adventure so far!
There, I will be participating in a research team as a Communications and Media Officer for a duration of two months, under a program called Uniterra. With poverty being the biggest challenge, our goal will be to provide research on certain economic sectors, with a specific focus on the involvement of women and youth. I am incredibly excited to be a (small) part of providing sustainable economic change to the communities within the capital city. So far, the program has been working to develop sectors such as the shea butter industry and rice, all with a focus on including women and youth.
Burkina Faso is a small landlocked country, just north of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Ouaga, short for Ouagadougou, has a population of an astounding 17 million. Currently, it is going through a little bit of political unrest, although from what I can tell peace has been maintained so far. Last October, the people overthrew their president (Blaise Compaoré) of over 27 years before he had the chance to amend the constitution once more to extend his reign even further. Now, an interim leader is in control, and an election is being planned for this coming fall.
However, what I am most excited about is the fact that Burkina Faso has one of the highest density of elephants in all of Africa. Being one of my favourite animals, it is definitely on my bucket list to see them in their natural environment, as they should be. Poaching is a huge problem for these smart, caring and majestic animals, and it is crucial that they are protected. I hope to look into what Burkina Faso is doing for its elephant population while I’m there (all I know now is that there are several wildlife reserves in the region) – so stay tuned for a piece on that!
Having never travelled to Africa before, I am incredibly excited to immerse myself in a new and no doubt exciting culture in Burkina Faso, and to soak it all in! Travelling there has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, and I am so happy that I have been given the opportunity to do good, sustainable work to help develop the local economy while I’m there. I know it’s going to make the trip that much more rewarding, and will only deepen the relationships I develop while there.
Currently, I’m a very busy bee, gathering everything I’ll need for my trip and filling out all the necessary paperwork. Vaccinations are this Friday – (yikes!) – wish me luck!
Talk to you from Ouaga!