Burkina Faso

2012-2015 | Center Ouest, Burkina Faso

Private investment for public good – upgrading household hand-dug wells to increase reliability, safety, and resiliency of water services for a range of domestic and productive uses.

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Context & Challenges

Rural Burkina Faso is among one of the poorest places on earth. The arid tropical climate is characterized by distinct rainy and dry seasons. Many areas, including the project focus region, are not close to a major river or other surface water supply. While significant investments have been made in conventional boreholes, according to a baseline study completed in 2012, 25% of these systems are non-functional. Instead, households depend primarily on shallow wells that they dig themselves for domestic use, agriculture and livestock activities. Villagers generally prefer using these traditional homestead wells over existing “improved” communal boreholes because they tend to be closer and more convenient. However, there are significant problems with traditional wells including risk of collapse, vulnerability to contamination and likelihood of drying up during the dry season between April and June. Lack of potable drinking water has led to high prevalence of waterborne illnesses and limited access to water for livelihood activities, particularly during the dry season, contributes to low agricultural productivity.


West Africa Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WA-WASH)

Location: Center, Center Ouest, and Boucle du Mouhoun Regions

Dates: 2012-2015

Clients [to date]: 10,003 with improved access to water for domestic and productive uses

Funder: USAID through the GLOWS consortium with FIU

Implementers: Winrock International with private sector partners

View Photos From Center Ouest, Burkina Faso


A self-supply approach cost-effectively delivers water services and maximizes impact of project funding. Following technical assistance on both local supply and local demand for water solutions, families are investing an average of $235 to upgrade existing wells through well deepening and reinforcement, construction of concrete aprons and capping. Infrastructure design options are flexible and based on households’ water needs. Households also have the option to include nearby installation of troughs for watering livestock or connect the well to an elevated tank feeding a drip irrigation system. Well improvements increase yield, enhance safety and increase seasonal availability; decreasing the time needed to fetch water during the dry season.  Access to water services is improved for drinking, cooking, and bathing as well as for income generation activities such as gardening, livestock watering, tree planting and brewing local beer. Local businesses are supported to provide manual drilling services and manufacture practical and economic rope pumps, creating a sustainable and affordable supply chain of these technologies. Households receive technical training to ensure ongoing maintenance of systems, enhance rainwater management, increase agricultural production and improve hygiene practices. The benefits of these water service, health, and livelihood investments extend beyond just one family; according to locally-held social norms, water from each subsidized household system is shared with neighbors, supplying approximately 70 additional community members.  

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  • Households invest average of $235 for well upgrades including deepening and reinforcement, construction of concrete aprons, and capping
  • Households that invest in upgraded wells share with neighbors. M&E data show approximately 12-15 neighboring households (70 additional community members) rely on the upgraded well for drinking and other domestic uses
  • Technical training provided directly to households helps ensure ongoing maintenance of systems
  • Local businesses are supported to provide manual drilling services and manufacture practical and affordable rope pumps, creating sustainable and affordable supply chains

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  • Greater volumes of water and more reliable services are made available for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene
  • Hygiene behavior change training focused on handwashing helps reduce water-related disease
  • Low-cost handwashing stations are promoted

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  • Increased access to productive-use water services support income generation activities such as gardening, livestock watering, tree planting, and brewing local beer
  • Technical livelihoods training, improved access to seeds and improved availability of vaccinations increase agricultural production

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  • Groundwater sources are protected from contamination through training and awareness on safe fertilizer and pesticide application and waste management
  • Soil quality is protected through adoption of conservation farming practices


What We’ve Learned


Solution Stories

burkinabe upgrades trad well 400x300 Burkinabe Household Invests in Upgrading Traditional Well

Upgrading traditional wells provides more water for productive uses.

Investment Sustainably Meets Needs 400x300 Household Self-investment Sustainably Meets Real Water Needs Convenience, safety, and income generation opportunities make upgrading wells worthwhile in rural Burkina Faso.
MUS meets local needs in Burkina Faso 400x300 MUS: Meeting local needs and creating jobs Low-cost technologies make improved wells affordable for rural families and drives business for local entrepreneurs.
Pauline KangoroPauline Kangoro – Moringa Producer

At 60 years old, Pauline Kangoro is leading a movement in her village. She heads a group of female entrepreneurs who produce value-added products that contain Moringa, a vitamin-rich plant indigenous to many parts of Africa.  

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