Members of Parliament (MPs) devoted the 14th of December , 2017 to listen to the issues raised by CSOs of the V4CP Programme.

Far from the benches of the National Assembly, and the noise of the capital city Ouagadougou, the Burkinabè MPs met in Koudougou (100 km far from the capital city) to look into the concerns of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) of the Voice for Change Partnership Programme. The Voice For Change Partnership (V4CP) is an advocacy programme developed and implemented by SNV and IFPRI in 6 countries including Burkina Faso. This programme aims to help CSOs develop advocacy and lobbying skills to enable them to express their points of view to government and decision makers.

The workshop is part of the V4CP advocacy plans which will aims to improve the living conditions of populations, said the President of Burkina Faso Farmers Confederation (CPF) board of directors, Mister Bassiaka DAO. According to him, these advocacy initiatives will permit CSOs to influence development policies and public and private interventions aiming to improve Food and Nutritional Security, Pastoralism, and Access to Renewable Energy. These discussions bring together the CSOs involved in the Programme, and MPs from four commissions of the National Assembly including: the Commission of Finance and Budget (COMFIB), the Commission for Economic Development, Environment, and Climate Change (CODECC), the Commission for Institutional General Matters and Human Rights (CAGIDH) and those in charge of Education, Health, Youth, Employment, Social and Cultural Matters.

SNV believes that CSOs are the voice of citizens at the local, national and international levels said the V4CP Programme Coordinator, Mr. Mahamadou Badiel With respect to the honourable MPs, Mr. Badiel indicated that their commitment to the success of this programme is crucial: "CSOs are expecting legislative texts and laws that are favourable to small agriculture producers, whose contribution to the national economy can no longer to be proven.” He reminded the assembly about the importance of the collaborative work of this programme, and how the CSOs are ready to provide input and be heard on bills which are submitted to them. The Burkinabe National Assembly could bring the concerns of CSOs to specialised commissions and to the ministries, and can push for more concrete measures. This also justifies the importance of these exchanges.

During the meeting, the advocacy strategy implemented by CSOs was presented. The MPs’ also voiced their opinions and suggestions on how CSOs can progress with successful advocacy actions, how they can obtain commitment from commissions on specific issues, how together stakeholders can develop a roadmap for dialogue between CSOs and the National Assembly, and how CSOs can contribute information and expertise to MPs on issues relating to Agriculture, Livestock-Pastoralism and Renewable Energies.

In his address, the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Confédération Paysanne du Faso (CPF), Bassiaka Dao did not mince his words. He warned that food security should no longer be a concept, but a reality: "We are lagging behind due to food insecurity and the lack of a good agricultural development policy. We need to develop real plans to address the issue of food insecurity. The law on land security that we had developed so far and adopted, is not being implemented. Why is this? Let us raise our concerns to the National Assembly so that they can pass significant laws and demand that the government implements a real programme to support family farms.”

Dissan Boureima Gnoumou, who represented the President of the National Assembly, said "We are committed to accompany you in your noble mission for a better life for our people".  In addition, the Vice-President of the CAGIDH submitted a draft law to the CSOs on agro silvo pastoral ,fisheries and wildlife investments in Burkina Faso, and asked for their feedback in the near future. 

As a reminder, the launch of the Voice for Change Program in March 2017 was held under the patronage of the National Assembly’s first Vice-President, Maître Bénéwendé Stanislas Sankara. This shows the strategic place this project holds in influencing the National Assembly.

Félicité KAMBOU (CSO rep.), Dissan Boureima Gnoumou,Mahamadou Badiel.

Bassiaka Dao - President of the CPF's in front of the press.