Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Provide Sustainable Income to Improve Hunger in Burkina Faso

Recently, I received a letter from Fr. Ignatius Anipu, a Missionary of Africa priest who lives and works in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in West Africa. Fr. Ignatius is the provincial superior for six countries (Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger and Togo) and, as such, one of his jobs is to make sure that he is aware of the needs of the poor — especially those who are hungry and without the basic necessities of life.


We have the ability, we have the means, and we have the capacity to eliminate hunger from the face of the earth. We need only the will.

President John F. Kennedy

Dear John,

As I read the above quote a few days ago, I could not help but think how true it is. More than fifty years ago, when President Kennedy made the statement, we had the ability to eliminate hunger. Today — more than half a century later, we still have the ability to wipe out hunger. But it isn’t the advancements in technology that make it possible. It still depends on our will — and the determination of so many to work so hard.

Recently, I received a letter from Fr. Ignatius Anipu, a Missionary of Africa priest who lives and works in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in West Africa. Fr. Ignatius is the provincial superior for six countries (Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger and Togo) and, as such, one of his jobs is to make sure that he is aware of the needs of the poor — especially those who are hungry and without the basic necessities of life.

“Widows and children are in particular need of help here,” Fr. Ignatius explains. “Because of diseases such as AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, great numbers of women and children whose husbands and fathers have died — are alone and without anyone to provide for them. To many people in Western cultures, this may sound strange. But in male dominated cultures found throughout much of Africa and in other parts of the world, it is quite an accurate statement. Far too often, women and children live on the fringe of society. Jobs for women — opportunities for them to support their families — can be quite scarce. That is why this project is so important.”

“One group of widows in Nagreongo (almost 35 miles from here),” Fr. Ignatius continues, “have bonded together hoping to create an ‘animal husbandry’ project which would provide food, clothing, and financial support — not only for their families right now — but for their children and their children’s children. The people in the town have been kind enough to
donate a plot of land for the widows to use for their animal husbandry project, but that is only the beginning. The women still need feed for the sheep they will raise — as well as the materials to build stalls in which the sheep can sleep and be protected from the elements.”

“They need feeding troughs, containers to hold water for the sheep, materials to build fences in order to protect the sheep from predatory animals — and, of course, they need to purchase the sheep.”

“There are farmers who are willing to give the widows the expert advice needed to raise the sheep, but they can’t start anything until they have the funds they need to purchase the sheep and the other materials. It is such a worthwhile and worthy project! Can you help?”

In his letter, Fr. Ignatius went on to explain that the intent of the group is to provide each widow with a ram (male) and a ewe (female). The widows will then raise the sheep and — “as the women’s children get older — to give a female sheep to each of their children, and to their children, and so on.” As the numbers of sheep increase, the wool could be sold to produce income and some of the animals could be sold as well. Some sheep could also be used for food. What an incredible opportunity! What a difference this will make in the lives of people now and for generations to come.

My friend, it is my hope that we can raise at least $40,000 for this project in Fr. Ignatius’ area as well as to support other income generating projects in our missions in West Africa. What a tremendous opportunity you and I have to touch the lives of those widows and children who are struggling to survive now — and support those who are yet to be born. As President Kennedy said, “We have the ability, we have the means, and we have the capacity . . . .” Now, what we need is the will! Will you help us make a difference that will change lives?

I do pray that you will be as generous as you possibly can. Together, we can do so much!