Milk and Artisan Value Chains for Refugees in Burkina Faso


In Burkina Faso, there are two camps where refugees from Mali are housed: Goudoubo and Mentao. Often Malian refugees and host communities in Burkina Faso are skilled herders and shepherds, and already have the skills to work in various parts of the dairy production process. In partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), we are working with Malian refugees and members of host communities in Burkina Faso to build profitable and sustainable dairy and artisan goods microenterprises.


Trickle Up is working with existing UNHCR projects in Burkina Faso to incorporate the Graduation Approach into their work with refugees. In addition to providing emergency support to refugees, UNHCR already provides many aspects of the Graduation Approach, such as market analysis, consumption support, capacity building, asset building, cash or capital grants, access to credit, etc.


We are assisting UNHCR in Burkina Faso in integrating Graduation into these projects to create more concrete benchmarks to monitor participants’ progress and tailor project activities to the needs of individual participants through coaching. In addition, building in a savings component strengthens refugees’ resilience and provides more economic security during times of scarcity. In Goudoubo and Mentao, refugee and host community participants will be able to meet their essential needs using their own capabilities, resources, and funding. The addition of host community participants in the program helps to encourage the integration of refugee families into host communities, building support networks in Burkina Faso for refugees.


Project Objectives

  • Build the capacity of UNHCR to integrate the Graduation Approach into its existing interventions with refugees in Burkina Faso
  • Stimulate profitable and sustainable income-generating activities in the milk and artisan sectors for Malian refugees and host community families living in extreme poverty in Burkina Faso

Project Data

Progress to date:


  • 380 participants have received coaching, consumption support, financial education, skills training, and have received or are eligible to receive an asset transfer.
  • 12 coaches hired and trained to provide Graduation support to participants.
  • Consumption support is underway for all participants. Cash and food rations are being supplied by the World Food Programme.
  • Group financial education training has been completed with the first set of participants. Lessons are now being reinforced through one‐on‐one coaching offered to participants on a weekly basis.
  • Skills training complete for participation in the artisan and milk value chains, with trainings defined depending on role in the value chain.
  • Cash grants are being delivered to participants. Grants are offered to participants working in both milk and artisan value chains who are part of associations.
  • Household assessments are being piloted to collect socio‐economic information regarding all participant households.
  • The team has been especially pleased with the fast growth in the artisan program, thanks in part to high quality technical support being provided to artisans, and a higher than expected demand for artisan products by multiple buyers.

Further project data will be posted here when available.

Goudoubo Refugee Camp, Dori, Sahel, Burkina Faso
Mentao Refugee Camp, de Djibo, Sahel, Burkina Faso

Start Date: 01/2015
End Date: Ongoing


Number of Participants: 680

Vulnerable Populations

Women, Rural, Refugees, Extreme Poor


Project Components

Stipend for Consumption Support, Asset Transfer, Coaching, Savings/Self-Help Groups (savings and credit services), Technical Livelihood Skills Training, Financial Literacy and Capability Training, Links to Job Opportunities, Legal Services, Healthcare Services, Supplementary Feeding and Nutrition Education, Primary Education

Our Partners

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. Trickle Up and UNHCR have been partners since 2013.

Other Project Partners

Veterinarians without Borders (VSF), Afrika Tiss, World Food Programme (WFP), IDEA Relief