UGF CDN is built on the belief that women in rural Burkina Faso have the potential to be independent, to provide for their families and to lead the way.

As a nurse - and later public official - Jacqueline Bassolet saw first-hand the challenges facing women in rural areas. She met women who had no access to education and who had no stable income. This combination meant that many of the women Jacqueline met had no say over the decisions that shaped their lives.

In 1991, Jacqueline founded UGF CDN. Since then, the organisation has trained its members in how to produce shea butter products, which they can then sell for a profit. It also offers women training in literacy, business skills, HIV prevention, sexual health, and social justice.

UGF CDN women

Since 2014, we've developed training so UGD CDN members can market their products, calculate their profits, and draw up a budget. We've trained UGF CDN staff in marketing, relationship management, and how to attract funding. And, most importantly we've worked in communities, which has allowed UGF CDN to reach more women.

But as well as having a positive impact on women across the region, UGF CDN has also had a long-lasting impact on the women it employs.

Jeanne Kanyala (above, left) markets the products produced by UGF CDN members. She explains:

"Before I joined UGF CDN, I used to stay at home and do whatever work around the house was needed. But I always wanted something more."

When Jeanne started working for UGF CDN in 1999, it was her first job, and the first time she'd had a stable income . Since then, Jeanne has learned to read and write in French and Lyélé (the local language), and has become a confident public speaker and a bold decision-maker.

But for Jeanne, one of the most exciting things she's achieved is independence:

"I've learned how to manage my income. By doing so, I’ve been able to buy a motorbike, which has given me independence and means I am now self-sufficient. It makes me very, very happy."

Marie Kanzoule (above, right) is Head of Production Processes, and explains that UGF CDN hasn't just offered her independence, even though – like Jeanne – she’s been able to buy a motorbike with her earnings. More than this, UGF CDN has offered her something less tangible, but just as important: community.

"When we work together, we can share experiences, ideas and knowledge. Many of the employees here learned to read and write because of the training that our colleagues have organised. We look after each other."

For all of the women at UGF/CDN, working with the organisation has given them the ability to provide for their children, and break the cycle of poverty. Fati Bayala (above, centre) is a Liasion Officer. She says her proudest achievement is being a working mother:

"I've been able to raise my five children; they've been my motivation to work hard. Now, I want to help the organisation to make a difference in other women's lives."

 

Support us to change the lives of more women like Jeanne, Fati and Marie.