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Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

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A group of youth in Burkina Faso painting a mural in their community
A group of youth in Burkina Faso painting a mural in their community
USAID Burkina Faso

Having successfully transitioned from a military rule to multi-party democracy in 1991, Burkina Faso conducted democratic general elections in November 2015 that elected the country’s second civilian president, after the 2014 popular uprising that ousted the former strongman Blaise Compaore and his 27-year old regime. Citizens reelected President Roch Kabore in 2020 to a new, five-year term despite the country’s serious security and governance challenges. However, on January 24, 2022, the Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration ousted President Kabore, reversing democratic progress.   

USAID's work in the Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG) contributes directly to USAID’s multi-sector resilience and countering violent extremism goals and is designed to assist Burkina Faso to return to democracy. USAID’s annual investment of $4 million supports the implementation of activities that enhance government responsiveness to citizen needs, promote human rights, and facilitate access to justice in areas affected by violent extremism. To reduce tensions that often lead to conflict, USAID works on strengthening ties between security forces and Burkinabè citizens as well as between farmers and herders. To foster an environment that is conducive to peace and social cohesion, USAID works with a wide range of government agencies and non-government organizations to conduct regular, free, and fair elections. 

USAID supports the development of political and electoral processes and systems in Burkina Faso through strengthening election administration. USAID does this by supporting transparent processes around reforms to the electoral code, encouraging transparent and accessible conduct of local elections, and enabling civil society organizations to fulfill their role of increasing citizen awareness of and participation in the electoral process. 

To achieve these goals, USAID offered training for representatives of the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) in election processes, communication, planning, and budgeting.  USAID also organized conferences on local governance and decentralization which had a wide reach across regions, providing a platform for participants to discuss topics such as the lack of education on citizens’ rights during elections. These conferences also provided an opportunity for local officials to stress their commitment to expanding opportunities for participation in local government decision-making processes, including elections. 

With the current political instability, USAID remains engaged in supporting the political transition and return of constitutional norms and democratic government. 

Human Rights
USAID strengthens the capacity of Burkina Faso’s Independent Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and civil society organizations (CSOs) to prevent human rights violations (HRV), ensure accountability when they occur, and support victims to have access to justice. To this end, USAID supported setting up a call center with a toll-free phone number. This resulted in an increase in the number of human rights complaints submitted to the CNDH as well as increased transparency.

Strengthening Local Governance
USAID supports local government institutions to improve their ability to deliver services that respond to citizen needs and priorities through activities designed to reduce conflict, improve security, strengthen disaster or crisis response, and stimulate local business growth. USAID does this by supporting municipal councils; informing citizens; helping community-based organizations to advocate for their needs and constructively communicate with government officials, and creating an environment where citizens and the state regularly engage in a productive dialogue.

Improving Social Cohesion
USAID aims to strengthen economic ties between farmers and herders in Séno and Namentenga provinces to support livelihoods and resilience to social, economic, and environmental shocks. The program strengthens connections between herder and farmer communities to break down negative perceptions, identify shared livelihood challenges, and build trust and collaborative community-driven solutions to address these challenges. A way by which this is achieved is by training women from both farmer and herder groups on making and selling products such as soap, allowing the two groups to work together and improve relations while at the same time creating a product that will bring income to the community. 

Our Goals

  • Strengthened democratic/electoral processes, particularly through increased citizen participation.
  • Enhanced respect for human rights on the part of government and non-government actors.
  • Increased community participation in conflict prevention, including countering violent extremism.
  • Strengthened local governance, particularly in resource management and disaster risk reduction.

Last updated: September 08, 2022

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