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L'OCCITANE en Provence

Building rural women’s resilience in Burkina Faso

Building rural women’s resilience in Burkina Faso

Every year for over 30 years, L’OCCITANE has sourced hundreds of tons of organic, fair-trade shea butter from five cooperatives in Burkina Faso, which bring together over 10,000 women. 

To mark International Day of Rural Women 2020, L’OCCITANE wishes to create awareness of the critical role in society played by the rural women of Burkina Faso, their struggles and needs – exacerbated by the growing insecurity in the country and, more recently, by COVID-19. 

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. For rural women and girls already struggling in their daily lives*, the pandemic has only made their situation worse, with a significant slowdown in internal and external trade, limited access to healthcare and nationwide school closures. The situation is exacerbated by surging violence by armed groups inside the country. The combination of these factors means more than 2.9 million* Burkinabè people need humanitarian assistance. Over 1 million* people have been displaced from their homes, 80% of whom are women and children from rural areas. 

Empowering rural women in Burkina Faso
For over 30 years, L’OCCITANE has sourced fair-trade certified shea butter, also known as ‘women’s gold’, directly from women producers in Burkina Faso. In 2018, L’OCCITANE launched RESIST (Resilience, Ecology, Strengthening, Independence, Structure, Training)*, a three-year programme to protect shea resources for 10,000 Burkinabè women producers, improve their working conditions and boost these women’s economic emancipation by improving their access to markets and generating new activities. This programme has also provided women shea butter producers with emergency assistance to help their communities curb the spread of COVID-19.

Kady Traore

L'OCCITANE African Philanthropic Project Manager

By working to protect women and support their autonomy, we contribute to building a more stable and just society. Women in rural areas play a key role in education, transmitting values and maintaining peace. Let us give them the power to fully take on this role.

Working with its foundation, L’OCCITANE is committed to reinforcing women leadership in Burkina Faso in collaboration with trusted NGOs: empowering female entrepreneurship through the L’OCCITANE pour Elles programme, financing education for girls via UNICEF and microcredits via Entrepreneurs du Monde, and increasing female literacy in collaboration with Aide et Action International. The ultimate goal is to support women’s vital role in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities.

L’OCCITANE has pledged to support the socioeconomic development of over 33,000 women in Burkina Faso by the end of 2020. Having almost reached this objective, the brand is about to set a new, more ambitious objective for 2025. This will include support for internally displaced women to help meet their basic needs and training to strengthen their autonomy. 

A Story of Commitments

L’OCCITANE en Provence’s CSR Report 2020 

*According to the National Statistics and Demography Institute (INSD) of Burkina Faso, more than 3.7 million women lived in a state of poverty in 2014.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – BURKINA FASO Situation Report, 30 June 2020

Conseil national de secours d’urgence et de réhabilitation (CONASUR) – Enregistrement des Personnes Déplacées Internes du Burkina Faso, 8 August 2020

The RESIST programme is supported by L’OCCITANE, public donors such as USAID (Global Shea Alliance) and SEQUA, as well as cooperatives. SEQUA is a non-profit development organisation appointed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to implement the programme, in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG). Furthermore, It relies on the technical aid of the NGO NITIDAE.