Wendemi joined Plan International in February 2020: "When I told my wife I was going to the East, she was worried," he explains. This region of Burkina Faso is one of the most affected by insecurity. Recurrent attacks by armed groups target both security forces and civilians.
"I told my wife, if I don't leave, if we don't do it, who will do it for us? This project will bring something to the people, and to the children," recalls Wendemi.
Wendemi is a driver for the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project that started in early 2020 and aims to reach more than 100,000 people. Funded by UNICEF, the project is improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation services for children, especially girls, and their families in three communities in the region.
Being a driver for Plan International means Wendemi needs to have an excellent knowledge of the area, vehicles and security protocols, however the WASH project team has no authorisation to travel further than Fada N'Gourma, the capital of the East region. "I can drive through all of Fada, but I don't go beyond that, except in the direction of Koupéla, towards Ouagadougou."
To carry out our activities and reach all the project communities, we rely on our local partners, with whom Wendemi is in regular contact: "I meet them when we train them in Fada. Recently I took handwashing equipment for the COVID-19 response to an association that will give them to beneficiaries in Tapoa province. So, the work is being done and that is the main thing."
Plan International is also working with the UN Refugee Agency to set up shelters in Fada. "It helps a lot of people, it's a really good thing," says Wendemi of our work to house people displaced by the conflict in Burkina Faso.
In his daily life, Wendemi is acutely aware of the realities faced by the 848,000 internally displaced people in his country. "I see them often. They are walking, they don't know what to do. I put myself in their shoes, I see children who are hungry. The security situation affects me very sincerely. The last attack on the cattle market in Kompienbiga made an impression on me. But we are not giving up hope," concludes Wendemi with a smile