Building Shelters for Vulnerable Displaced Persons in Burkina Faso

Construction of shelters by IDPs in Dori. Photo: IOM/Judicael Lompo

Dori  – The upsurge in violence in the country and insecurity in Burkina Faso’s Sahel, Centre-Nord, Nord, Boucle du Mouhoun, and Est regions have triggered an unprecedented humanitarian emergency. 

As of June 2019, nearly 220,000 persons were displaced, a number that has tripled since December 2018. By the end of the year, this number could reach 335,000 displaced persons. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled armed attacks and conflicts to seek refuge among host communities, often the poorest, who are now struggling to meet their basic protection and assistance needs. 

As living conditions have seriously been undermined for both IDPs and their host communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working with other humanitarian actors and the Government of Burkina Faso to immediately address the shelter needs of these communities. Using its own funds, IOM has launched a pilot project to build emergency shelters for vulnerable IDPs in Dori City.  

Among the 2,060 IDPs currently in Dori, 25 vulnerable families  –  a total of 175 persons  –  were selected by IOM and the Regional Directorate for Women, National Solidarity, Family and Humanitarian Action in the Sahel region, to receive these emergency shelters in the pilot phase.  

These shelters, approved by the Burkinabe authorities, conform to the “Sahel Shelter” prototype developed by the Luxembourg Red Cross and can be built almost exclusively with local materials. The Sahel Shelters are termite-resistant and adapted to the Sahelian climate. They will be built with the support of a local team of nine people and under the supervision of IOM. 

Hamidou is one of the beneficiaries of this pilot project. He is the head of the village of Pissi Ntaaga, located in the Arbinda commune, a community that has been a victim of several armed attacks. Hamidou has found refuge in the Dori commune, with about a hundred persons from his community. When he arrived in Dori, about 100 km from Arbinda, exhausted by the journey, this 70-year-old was away from the violence-prone area but had no shelter.   

“Today, I have a shelter for my family and me. This is very useful for us, especially in this rainy season. But I am not alone. I came here with several members of my community,” Hamidou said.  

Rama, six months pregnant, also fled violence in Arbinda with her four children. They, too, found refuge in Dori. “I left my village of Boukouma (Arbinda) after the attacks to seek refuge in Dori. I don’t know anyone here. I live in this school yard with my children. We sleep in the open,” Rama explained.  

This pilot project is part of the humanitarian response to the massive displacement of persons, but this response still falls far short of host and displaced communities’ needs.  

For more information, please contact Mubelo Norra Makaka at IOM Burkina Faso, Tel: +226 54 49 52 19, Email: