What are the results for the children after a 6-year project in Burkina Faso?

As we enter 2021, the IBCR turns its attention to Africa and Burkina Faso, where a project implemented since 2015 has come to an end. During these years of action, the Bureau and its partners have worked to strengthen the professions in the security, justice and social work sectors in the field of child rights and child protection. 6 years later, the results are there, and concrete changes are visible, positively impacting Burkinabè children.

This is the second major project that the Office has completed in the last few weeks. You may have been following the closure of the Batela Mwana project, a similar project that aimed to strengthen the professions in the security, justice and social work sectors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is now the time for our project in Burkina Faso to come to an end and to transmit the necessary tools to local institutions and organisations so that they can continue the action initiated by our intervention.

Two similar projects at the same time

In 2015, the Bureau engaged in two major projects on the same theme, but in two different countries: The Democratic Republic of Congo and Burkina Faso. The actions of each project have been adapted to the local contexts and the needs expressed, but, overall, a similar trajectory has been mapped out: one of supporting the government, its institutions and local organisations in improving the protection of the country’s children, who were then confronted with numerous situations of vulnerability and lacked confidence in the institutions and people who were supposed to protect them.


A capacity building project for the security forces, the magistrature, the prison security guard and the social workers in the field of child protection in Burkina Faso

The project focused particularly on building the capacity of staff in some key child protection sectors: security, justice (magistrates and prison security guards) and social workers. Thanks to the introduction of new procedures to frame the interventions of each actor, and the integration of modules on children’s rights into the training curricula of the targeted professions, the personnel targeted have been able to change their attitudes and develop the necessary skills to act in the best interests of the child at all times. The project has thus enabled children in contact with the justice system in Burkina Faso to have access to services that are more respectful of their rights, by training and equipping the professionals who interact with them.

In all our interventions, we act to support and strengthen the local actors in charge of protecting children by providing technical support based on our expertise. As our presence is intended to remain temporary, we make every effort to ensure that local child protection institutions and organisations take ownership of our actions and can continue to implement them after our departure, to enable all children in a country or region to be better protected. The IBCR has thus acted in close collaboration with the ministries, directorates and services concerned, and the civil society of Burkina Faso in order to bring about an adapted and sustainable change in favour of the country’s children.


Convincing results, 6 years later:

  • 7,759 professionals, including 835 women, have been sensitised, equipped and trained on children’s rights and good practices in child protection in Burkina Faso.
  • 17,466 professionals have indirectly benefited from the project’s actions and are now better equipped to protect children.
  • 100% of the stakeholders interviewed during project activities now offer services that are more respectful of the principles of protection and participation of girls and boys in all sectors.
  • A total of 295 hours of courses on children’s rights and appropriate practices have been integrated into the professional training programmes of the police, gendarmerie, social sector, magistracy and prison security guard, on a permanent, compulsory and evaluated basis.
  • 270 people, including 54 women, have been trained and certified to teach the new courses set up under the project in the various associated training schools.
  • 4 operating methods have been disseminated and new practices have been integrated into the State’s reference frameworks to clarify the roles, responsibilities and ways of doing things of the actors in the child protection system within a common and harmonised path for children in contact with the law.


The actions of the project have led to the following changes: 

  1. Work practices are more child-friendly and respect children’s rights.

The approach to child justice is evolving; fewer children are being held in detention (20% of cases handled in 2019 compared to 41% in 2015) and priority is given to alternatives to detention or police custody. Judicial personnel as a whole are increasingly sensitive to children’s rights and show more respect, patience and compassion for the children they receive. Children are better informed and more invited to give their opinion. Confidentiality is better respected and practices are evolving to take into account the gender specificities of children in their accompaniment.

  1. Collaboration between sectors is strengthened and the cross-cutting role of social workers has been enhanced.

Whereas they used to intervene only occasionally in the accompaniment of children in contact with the law, social workers can now be found at all stages of their journey, from their arrival in the squadrons to their accompaniment in court, if necessary. This is a major step forward in ensuring that children’s rights are respected during the procedure, creating a relationship of trust with them, and enabling them to benefit from quality psychosocial assistance.

  1. Professionals are better trained and equipped to respect children’s rights.

The integration of the training kits in schools has enabled current and future professionals in the three sectors concerned by the project to develop a better understanding of children’s rights, to adopt child-friendly practices and to ensure enhanced protection of children’s rights in accordance with international standards.

6,591 learners, including 634 women, have been trained through these courses, a number that will continue to grow year on year as the course is taught, enabling a global and sustainable transformation of practices.

  1. By working directly with the Burkinabè government, the project has promoted the adoption of directives, ministerial orders and institutional measures consolidating the rights recognised for children, particularly girls.

In particular, state structures have made commitments to continue the project’s teaching and training, and to strengthen the implementation of the recommendations given by the law and/or the project. For example, the respect of time limits for police custody or social enquiries, the appointment of a juvenile ward manager in each penitentiary establishment, or the appointment of a social worker as a reference for each police station and gendarmerie brigade.

The rights of more than 1,261,250 children are thus better protected and respected in Burkina Faso.

Closing ceremony, Ouagadougou, January 2021

The successful implementation of this project and the major changes achieved for a better respect of children in contact with justice are also largely due to the mobilise and the great involvement of our partners from the Burkinabe state. This project has been carried by and for the State and this strong commitment has been felt at all stages. This has allowed for a natural transition towards greater sustainability

Martin Causin, projet manager, October 2020


> For more details on the project and its achievements, you can consult the end-of-project brochure: 

Capacity building for stakeholders in the child protection system in Burkina Faso

This project would not have been possible without our partners, to whom we extend our warmest thanks:

  • Global Affairs Canada, for its financial support
  • All our partners in Burkina Faso, and particularly the institutions and ministries involved, for their constant participation in the project’s actions, allowing the valorisation and sustainability of the actions carried out. Their appropriation of the project and its messages is undoubtedly one of the guarantees of its success.


What’s next ?

The International Bureau for Children’s Rights does not rule out continuing its action and supporting the Burkinabè government once again in strengthening its child protection system in the future. Several projects are currently under discussion with the Canadian and Burkinabè authorities and could see the light of day in the coming years.

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More about the project and its results