Ouagadougou, 12 November 2007 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik took the opportunity during her trip to Burkina Faso to visit the Austrian development cooperation (ADC) coordination office in Ouagadougou and find out at first hand about ADC projects and focuses. The ADC focus in the priority country Burkina Faso is "help towards for self-help". The cooperation takes place in three areas in which ADC has a good deal of experience: vocational training, sustainable rural development and the promotion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The aim of all supported projects is to reduce poverty and to promote democracy, peace and human rights, gender equality and the environment. The involvement of women - as beneficiaries but also as the designers of projects - is basic to all of the ADC projects: only if women’s rights are taken into account and strengthened and their education and access to education fostered will they be able to manage their own futures and promote the sustainable development of their country. ADC therefore supports projects and initiatives in particular in the field of textile processing (weaving, dyeing, tailoring, carpet making), which are predominantly the domain of women.
A further basis for sustainable development is access to financing to enable women to create their own small enterprises and obtain a regular source of income. The savings and loan associations are aimed particularly at women in rural areas who live far away from conventional banks or who would not obtain loans from them anyway because of the lack of sufficient security. A successful example of an association of this type is the "Mutuelle d’Epargne et de Crédit des Artisan(ne)s et Producteurs(trices)" (MECAP), which was founded in 2002 as part of an ADC programme. Today it is an independent organisation with branches in 17 of Burkina Faso’s 30 provinces and itself a partner in ADC projects.
Women must have the possibility of determining their lives themselves and of participating actively in the decision-making process. ADC programmes support women and girls and thus make an important contribution to poverty reduction and sustainable development in Burkina Faso.
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