Protecting watersheds and combating desertification, the ESEPV-Sahel project in Burkina Faso is committed to supporting local communities Stories

17 June, 2024


Heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture and livestock breeding for their livelihoods, people in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. According to projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), temperatures across Burkina Faso are set to rise by 3 to 4°C by 2080-2099, compared with the period 1980-1999. Droughts, floods, desertification and heat waves are all events that have a negative impact on ecosystems and the well-being of populations already suffering from political, health, security and economic crises. Environmental degradation results in loss of biodiversity, shrinking forest areas, soil aridification and poses a direct threat to water resources.

The region’s communities are among those who’s of access rate to drinking water is below the national average (56.9% versus 63%). Lack of access to drinking water is synonymous with poor access to hygiene and sanitation services, with considerable repercussions on people’s health, education and economic activities, and affects women and girls the most.

It is in this context that Cowater is implementing the ” Socio-economic wellbeing of vulnerable populations in the Sahel Region” (ESEPV-Sahel) project funded by Global Affairs Canada, Iamgold and the One Drop Foundation in the targeted communes of Dori, Falagountou and Gorom-Gorom in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso.

Adaptation, more than a challenge for ESEPV-Sahel Project!


The challenge for the ESEPV-Sahel project is to use water as a leverage for the development and socio-economic well being of the target populations. Indeed, it recognizes that sustainable, efficient and equitable mobilization of water resources requires safeguarding them by protecting watersheds, thereby helping to increase the resilience of populations and preserve environmental and human health.


As the popular proverb goes, “alone we go fast, together we go far“. The ESEPV-Sahel project, with its sustainable approach, works in partnership with the Ministry in charge of the Environment, Water and Sanitation and its central and decentralized technical services; local authorities and the Liptako Watershed Agency (AEL); the grassroots population organized through Local Water Committees (CLEs), Water Users’ Associations (AUEs), Village Development Councils (CVDs), and Civil Society Organizations.

Activities undertaken and planned

ESEPV-Sahel project has initiated targeted actions to protect watersheds, a preventive measure against the silting up of water bodies. In partnership with AEL, the aim is to build the capacity of three CLEs in the project area to become leaders within their communities in:

  • Promoting good environmental practices
  • Planning and implementing actions to protect watersheds and water resources
  • Raising people’s awareness of their eco-citizen responsibilities.

The project is also working with all stakeholders on

  • developing a drinking water supply master plan for the communes of Dori, Falagountou and Gorom-Gorom covering the period to 2050, a planning tool for the rational use and sustainable management of water resources that will be made available to stakeholders at national, regional and communal levels, including technical and financial partners; and
  • developing a sludge management and reuse strategy that will eliminate sources of pollution of the environment and water resources and provide an opportunity for agricultural use (soil fertilization) and the restoration of vegetation coverage.

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