In 2017, as part of the USAID-funded Victory Against Malnutrition (ViM) Activity, a group of onion producers from the Sanmantenga Province of Burkina Faso received funds to construct a 100-metric ton onion storage facility in Tiffou, a village located about five kilometers from the city of Kaya. During the 2018-2019 growing seasons, members waited calmly for the right moment to sell the 96 metric tons of onions stored in their facility. Then, one afternoon in June at the start of the rainy season, a violent wind ripped the entire roof off the facility.

“We were alerted by the guardian that a violent wind had totally disheveled the roof of our storage facility. The treasurer and I rushed to the site to see the damage, which was of a great magnitude.” – Salif Ouédraogo, a marketing officer for the Sanmatenga Province producer group

This unexpected weather event drastically compromised the earnings members hoped to derive from the sale of their onions. Members found themselves faced with the challenge of repairing their storage facility on their own initiative.

Strong winds damaged the group’s onion storage facility in the Sanmantenga Province.

Without relying on the support of the ViM Activity or its follow-on, the Victory Against Malnutrition Plus (ViMPlus) Activity, members consulted with their group’s leaders and agreed to borrow a loan from Yik-n-Tchêne, which translates to “get up and walk” in the local Mooré language. Yik-n-Tchêne is a local association that specializes in providing credit to agricultural producers.

Given the urgency, the group was approved for a USD 5,053.02 line of credit just 48 hours later. With this loan, the group was able to repair their storage facility within 10 days and consequently save the full 96 metric tons of onions.

This rapid response and mobilization on the part of members shows the increased independence of ViM and ViMPlus participants. The repairs the group made in just over a week confirm their ability to exploit sustainability mechanisms built through governance and capacity building. Their quick response and access to resources illustrates a growing sense of self-reliance and resilience in the face of unexpected shocks and stresses.

Learn more about the Victory Against Malnutrition (ViM) Activity.

Learn more about our work in Burkina Faso.