health Do not forget our friends in Nakamtenga

The mayor of our municipality Ziniaré in Burkina Faso is standing in the street corner of the urban area with a bottle of hand-sanitizer in his hand offering a spraying to anyone who wants it. Most people stop and stretch out their hands. Mayor Pascal Compaoré, who has his family in our village of Nakamtenga, shows with a tangible and clearly visible gesture that he takes the threat of the Corona virus seriously.

The Corona virus has affected our entire world from the richest countries to the poorest. We all feel the consequences in our daily lives and how serious the pandemic is hitting individuals, companies and our entire single economy. There is a risk in this situation of concentrating on minimizing the personal consequences and forgetting the fact that in this part of the world, we, as usual, still belong to the privileged.

So far, the number of people directly affected by the virus in Africa has been low compared to the rest of the world. However, we do not know what to expect in the near future. Burkina Faso is one of the worst affected countries in Africa. We do not know why it’s the case.

During the month of March, everyone began to understand the seriousness of the outbreak, and resolute measures were soon taken to try to prevent a rapid spread. On March 21, all borders are closed both landways and airways. Curfew is imposed from 7 pm to 5 am. All schools are closed a week ago. All cities are quarantined, first Ouagadougou, and Bobo Diolasso and then even smaller cities and towns such as Ziniaré, the provincial capital where Nakamtenga is located. This means that the residents of Nakamtenga are isolated. They cannot go to Ziniaré, 5 km away to visit the market and other shops and institutions. Anyone who violates the ban risks fines and their car, scooter or bicycle confiscated. This is exactly what happened to our administrator Sotissi Compaoré. He lives in Ziniaré and when he was about to go to work in Nakamtenga the other day he was stopped and the military took his scooter.

In a country like Burkina Faso, which has one of the least developed economies in the world and which is also land-locked, ie. not having access to any ports for import and export, the consequences for the population become extremely evident. There is no reserve stock of anything and one, even before the Corona crisis, poorly functioning medical and health care. The authorities have decided on a crisis aid which, by Burkinabé measures, is enormous, SEK 6.6 billion. Where that money is to be taken is quite difficult to guess. Public revenues are expected to decline drastically and growth in the economy, which has been between 5 and 6 percent annually for a number of years, will fall to 2% by 2020.

For Yennenga Progress, it will also be difficult to meet our commitments for operations in Nakamtenga this year. Each month, we need about SEK 125,000 to manage the operation of our schools, our health care and other regular activities. Our investments to improve the infrastructure in various ways, especially in terms of water and renewable energy, our commitment to improve land use and farmers' returns must be put on the back burner in the near future. Meanwhile we are given the importance of the work to build a functioning society that can function properly even when the roads to other neighboring towns and villages are cut off: access to clean water, energy to charge the phones and other necessities; the food safety initiatives , healthcare etc.

Therefore we would like to appeal to all Yennenga Progress friends, foundations, individuals and companies, not to forget that in this difficult time, to also think about our friends in Nakamtenga, children, youth and adults who depend in many ways on our solidarity and our continued commitment. Our solidarity will be tested as it blows all over the world – may it be sufficient.