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Where we Work

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has worked in West Africa since responding to the severe drought and food crisis that devastated the region in the mid-1970s. LWR has worked in Niger since 1975, strengthening agricultural cooperatives in the Tahoua and Dosso regions. LWR began working in rural communities of Burkina Faso and Mali in 1986 to address the root causes of poverty and lay the groundwork for greater food and nutritional security. LWR currently works in the Nord, Centre-Est, and Est regions of Burkina Faso and in the Mopti and Ségou regions of Mali.

Burkina Faso

LWR began working in Burkina Faso in 1986 to address the food crisis assailing the country’s largely rural population. Subsistence farmers, the vast majority of the population, face a harsh and arid climate with seasonal and highly variable precipitation, exacerbated by the growing impact of global climate change. LWR works to break the vicious cycle of poverty by supporting agriculture and climate programs which are designed to improve livelihoods.

In Burkina Faso, the CORE project focuses on the communes of Gnagna, Gourma, Komandjari, Kompienga and Tapoa in the Eastern region of the country. According to an emergency assessment supported by the World Food Programme (2012), 707,458 people, or 60 percent of the population of the Eastern (Est) region, were food insecure at the time of the project start. The same study demonstrated very low levels of recovery from the crisis; despite the initial emergency response, more than 96 percent of households reported that their incomes were lower than pre-crisis income levels.

In Burkina Faso, CORE is implemented by the Fédération des Diéma Tin Tua (FDTT). FDTT evolved from the Association Tin Tua, a successful literacy training and community development organization. FDTT focuses on poverty reduction, food security and capacity strengthening in 27 districts throughout the Est, Centre-Est (Koulpelogo) and Sahel regions (Yagha) of Burkina Faso.

With an estimated membership of more than 9,400 members in 2012, FDTT now has more than five years of experience in financial and literacy training for members, with a focus on applying these skills to farmers’ ability to run their farms effectively, which helps increase food security through sustainable agriculture. Fifty-one percent of FDTT’s members are women, and 54 percent of the total membership is literate.

This organization is managed by an independent board comprised of ten members, four of whom are women. FDTT has well established administrative and accounting procedures, and has successfully implemented programming in partnership with Oxfam, Diakonia and the national Fonds pour l’Alphabétisation et l’Education Non Formelle (FONAENF).


LWR began working in Mali in 1986 to address drought-related famine, and continues to partner with rural communities to address the root causes of poverty and lay the groundwork for greater food and nutritional security.

LWR works in the Tamani, Boidiè, Somo and Dougoufè communes of the Ségou region. The Ségou region is home to an estimated 229,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mali. These people have been displaced by the northern occupation of the country by rebel groups, with many hosted by family members in the Mopti and Ségou regions, placing additional food stress on communities already trying to recover.

In Mali, LWR’s CORE project partner is the Union des Sociétés Coopérative des Eleveurs des Communes de Tamani, Boidié, Dougoufé et Somo (USCET). The Union began as a collaboration of small cooperatives in Ségou region representing the agriculture, livestock and fishery sectors. Identified and strengthened by a World Bank initiative in 2009, the diverse cooperatives began implementing animal husbandry and currently manage dairy and animal fattening activities.

In 2012, with capacity development support from LWR, 20 of these existing cooperatives from four communes (Tamani, Boidiè, Somo and Dougoufè) came together to form a cooperative structure; statutes were adopted and USCET was formally registered as a cooperative union, with 1,244 registered members, including 443 women. USCET currently provides members access to collective purchase of animal feed and value addition services.


LWR began working in Niger in 1975 to address severe drought-related famine, and continues to partner with rural communities to address the root causes of poverty and lay the groundwork for greater food and nutritional security.

In Niger, CORE project activities are focused in the communes of Kalfou, Bambeye, Tamaske and Keita located in Badagichiri watershed in Tahoua region.

LWR’s partner in this effort, the Fédération Kishi, is a federation of seven unions serving 223 cooperatives. The federation has a total of 10,603 members, including 4,473 women. This partner has a seven-person team to assist with technical operations; two women are currently on staff. The staff have previously been trained on gender equality, nutrition, cash transfers and financial management, and soil and water conservation.

Fédération Kishi’s 223 member organizations have previous experience implementing food security, soil and water conservation, and livelihoods interventions supported by the Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the African Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB). With technical support from their experienced project team, Fédération Kishi is successfully concluding implementation of both a two-year, $1.6 million crisis recovery project supported by LWR and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and a one-year $600,000 Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance funded project to bring these resiliency efforts to scale.