Ouahigouya, North province, Burkina Faso: People forced to flee their homes gather in Ouahigouya. Photo: Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC

NRC in Burkina Faso

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) set up operations in Burkina Faso in 2019 to serve those affected by the crisis sweeping through the country.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2023.


Humanitarian overview

Burkina Faso has experienced an unprecedented rise in violence and skyrocketing humanitarian needs since 2019 due to attacks by non-state armed groups and the besiegement of up to 36 towns and villages across the country by the end of 2023, trapping roughly a million civilians. Around 2 million people are internally displaced, and many have been forced to flee multiple times either due to insecurity or to a lack of humanitarian assistance in areas not accessible by humanitarian organisations.

In early 2023, Burkina Faso was home to nearly half of all closed schools in Central and West Africa. About 1 in 4 schools were not operational, disrupting the education of over a million children. The number of people facing acute food insecurity multiplied ninefold between 2018 and 2022. In the summer of 2023, the country registered for the first time 43,000 people as being at a catastrophic level of food insecurity. Some 6.3 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance in 2024, a 25 per cent increase compared to 2023.

  • 32,717
    people benefited from our education programme in 2023
  • 16,057
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 32,929
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 7,062
    people benefited from our protection programme
  • 20,212
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 46,523
    people benefited from our WASH programme


NRC's operation

NRC has operated in Burkina Faso since July 2019. Starting in the Centre North region, it later expanded to the Sahel, Boucle du Mouhoun and East regions. Key sectors include shelter, WASH, education, livelihoods and food security, ICLA, and protection from violence for a total of 107,493 people of concern, of whom just over half are women. NRC is the co-lead of the Access Working Group and the Rapid Response Coordination Group and is the lead of the Housing, Land and Property Area of Responsibility (AoR). NRC chairs the advocacy working group for the FONGIH network. Initially a joint operation, Burkina Faso and Niger split into separate offices in 2023.


NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

Our livelihoods team is:

  • supporting targeted households with income-generating activities and reducing negative coping mechanisms
  • supporting people living in displacement with negotiating access to land and distributing seeds and agricultural tools
  • improving access to food and non-food items for the most vulnerable internally displaced people through distribution of cash or in-kind assistance
  • distributing small animals for livestock recovery
  • distributing agricultural input and tools enabling households and communities to start rebuilding their lives


NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Our shelter teams are:

  • providing essential household items including kitchen sets, bedding, solar torches, and mosquito nets
  • providing complete shelter solutions and education infrastructures either through temporary or transitional models (including long-term models for schools)
  • conducting site coordination activities, especially site planning, to enable the installation of shelters and minimum basic services, delivered by NRC or in coordination with other actors
  • advocating on issues related to the establishment of new sites
  • constructing permanent houses to contribute to the local resettlement of internally displaced people
  • contributing positively to the shelter cluster on global and local issues


NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

Our WASH team are:

  • providing schools with WASH minimum packages including water and sanitation infrastructures, sanitation and hygiene behaviour change, and governance activities
  • providing access to water through construction and rehabilitation of solar powered water supply systems and boreholes with handpumps in sites, settlements and hosting communities
  • providing emergency water solutions in the wake of crisis and water points rehabilitation in blockaded areas through a flying team
  • improving access to sanitation in sites, settlements and hosting communities through construction, rehabilitation and emptying of culturally appropriate and inclusive latrines and showers with handwashing stations
  • fostering positive hygiene behaviour change through information, communication and education of communities on hygiene practices and the prevention of communicable diseases
  • providing appropriate hygiene items to communities and putting in place handwashing facilities
  • supporting local structures (communities, municipalities) in collaboration with decentralised water and sanitation services in the sustainable management of infrastructures


NRC EducationEducation

Focusing on education in emergencies, we are:

  • supporting the formal system to increase capacity for internally displaced children
  • providing adapted learning conditions to ensure the retention of students in schools
  • conducting awareness-raising campaigns to promote inclusive education and enhance social cohesion and peaceful cohabitation between displaced and host community children
  • distributing education kits to improve the learning conditions of students
  • constructing semi-permanent school blocks and repairing existing classrooms
  • working to improve access to education in areas where schools have been forcibly closed by armed groups, while protecting children from harm and promoting safe and inclusive learning environments
  • providing vocational training for marginalised youth while promoting apprenticeships, mentoring and career guidance
  • initiating the Better Learning Programme in targeted schools to support out-of-school children who have experienced trauma
  • building the capacity of teachers and community members on the newly introduced Better Learning Programme
  • initiating the Better Learning Programme in targeted schools to support out-of-school children who have experienced trauma
  • building the capacity of teachers and community members on the newly introduced Better Learning Programme


NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

We are assisting affected communities to:

  • access information on the legal and civil documentation processes
  • obtain the civil and identity documentation necessary to access rights and services
  • understand and protect their housing, land and property rights

Our teams:

  • organise capacity-building sessions for local authorities and civil documentation officials on issues pertaining to land and civil documentation
  • lead the housing, land and property rights working group to build capacity and advocate with authorities, humanitarian actors and other stakeholders


Protection from violence

Our site management teams are:

  • reinforcing site management programming
  • improving access to protection and assistance
  • establishing and strengthening coordination mechanisms and community participatory structures
  • strengthening community safety and violence prevention
  • supporting community-driven risk reduction action plans


About NRC in Burkina Faso

International staff
Areas of operation
Ouagadougou (country office), Centre North, Sahel, Boucle du Mouhoun (through local partner), East (Fada)
National staff

Contact NRC Burkina Faso - country director

Country Director

Anika Krstic


+226 65 52 43 02

Contact NRC Burkina Faso - general enquiries


+226 07 00 44 19