Success Story: Rosalie Bafiogo: My Moment of Lift

My name is Rosalie Bafiogo. I am 60 years old, and I live in Guru in the Centre-Ouest region of Burkina Faso.

Prior to working with SELEVER, my job was weaving fabrics in addition to taking care of my household. However, I had to give up because my vision was weak. In the meantime, I had become responsible for the promotion of breastfeeding in my village, and through that work I was made aware of the opportunity of women’s poultry farming. I wondered what more I could learn about poultry, as I had raised poultry in the past. On the insistence of the councilor of our village, our women’s group had a very interesting first meeting with a microfinance institution that was promoting the activity. We did not know that poultry could bring so much money and benefits to the family including nutrition. After this meeting, we decided to form a poultry production group, and I was chosen as secretary.

After the training, I spoke to my husband who was skeptical about the success of women raising poultry but agreed to let me try. With the help of my grandchildren, I was able to rehabilitate an abandoned hut, which became a second hen house. Starting with my first chicks, I isolated them in this building to better maintain them. Six to seven months later, I already sold 50 poultry for 100,000 FCFA, which is not a negligible amount for a woman in our community. That same money allowed me to buy my children’s school items.

I then participated in a meeting of community leaders to organize advocacy for greater participation of women in poultry production. This advocacy allowed 200 women in 50 groups around me to engage in this activity with the support of their husbands. It was in this role of poultry producer and community leader that I had the opportunity to meet Melinda Gates.

Ms. Gates was approachable and engaged with us and saw things from our perspective. We were five women having a friendly talk to better understand the activities we lead in our villages, our difficulties, and the impact of this project on our daily lives. I took the opportunity to present the situation of early pregnancies among girls in our middle and high schools mainly due to poverty in families and the lack of sex education for girls. Melinda then proposed that as women leaders, we should work to help other women adopt poultry production so they too could generate enough income and allow vulnerable households to meet the needs of their families and especially the girls.

I must admit that this meeting inspired me as a woman leader and filled me with pride for my contribution to engage women in poultry production. Melinda’s proposal resonated with me because if the family is very poor and the girl cannot eat enough to meet her needs, it exposes her to all sorts of dangers. With the production of poultry, the household can increase its income and thus support the girl with her needs. Also, it is an activity that does not require much investment because with a chicken and a rooster, we can start and by the end of the year end up with a considerable stock.

On the way back from this meeting, I reflected on how to strengthen my knowledge on poultry raising and health care to better support women to fight against poultry diseases and increase production. I immediately called the SELEVER project (implemented by Tanager) to solicit the support. A few weeks later, I was informed of the training opportunity of Vulgarisatrice Volontaire Villageois (volunteer village vaccinator) and that I could take part.

Back from my training in the village and with my first 100 doses of a new vaccine, I applied this to my own poultry to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccine and master the technique of deworming and vaccination. After two weeks of finding no mortality, and in my quest for customers, I began to meet the women from the neighboring region to show them the opportunity to raise local poultry. Many of these women became interested in the activity so I started setting up my first group of producers. Sometime later, I was selected – on the basis of my performance – for training in the use of videos for the formation of our production groups.

When I finished the SELEVER training, I got in touch with the women interested in poultry production to better train them on breeding techniques and increase their production. This first activity mobilized nearly 200 women leading me to develop strategies to raise awareness and care for their poultry. At the second meeting for the training, they were more than 100 new women. Little by little, the information was passed to the neighboring villages, and these women also organized themselves to come and ask for my services. I currently have about 600 women that I regularly train and vaccinate their poultry. To date, every woman has an average of 30 birds. To meet producers’ needs, in addition to preventive care, I manufacture and sell poultry feed, breeding equipment, breeders and chicks, and I facilitate the marketing of their poultry. This activity brings in money, and thanks to the new income, I manage to take care of food expenses, clothing, school, and health and have started my treatment for breast cancer.

Mme Bafiogo is just one of many motivated and dedicated leaders supporting their community to strengthen poultry production and ultimately improve economic and social outcomes. Tanager has worked through VVVs and community leaders to reach 40,000 women and men to support in improving household nutrition, increasing household incomes, and improving the economic and social status of women.