Disaster Alert: Suspensions in Burkina Faso - June 1, 2022
June 1, 2022 – Unrest has affected several frontline church partners in Burkina Faso
For the last several months, unrest has caused instability in Burkina Faso, limiting frontline church partners’ ability to gather children together for normal activities. Due to increasing violence and instability, along with the inability to communicate with or deliver any aid to the affected regions in Burkina Faso, Compassion has made the difficult decision to suspend its operations in that portion of the country, effective immediately. Sponsors with affected children have been informed.
What is a suspension?
When an area becomes inaccessible due to infrastructure and transportation disruptions, Compassion’s access to and communication with staff, churches, and children is interrupted. Often times, frontline church partners cannot receive funds from Compassion due to banking system disturbances. As a result, letters and child information are also suspended as there is no communication with the affected area.
What happens to sponsorship funds during a suspension?
When frontline church partnerships are temporarily suspended, funds are safely held at Compassion’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, USA. They are not sent to the National Office (in this case, Compassion Burkina Faso) for distribution to the frontline church partners. The funds are still committed to the frontline churches and the children and are held until the suspension is removed. Once the suspension is removed, the funds are sent to the National Office for distribution to the frontline church partners.
Why is Compassion suspending its relationship with its church partners in inaccessible areas?
We cannot access or communicate with churches in these areas. We are not able to monitor the status of the participants in these areas or facilitate any financial or physical aid to children, families and frontline church staff in these areas.
Isn’t a time of crisis when Compassion is needed most?
Decisions like this are very difficult for us to make. Child development and child protection are our highest priority, and our hearts break for the children, families, and frontline church staff experiencing such suffering and hardship. After prayerful consideration, we decided that suspension was the best course of action. Suspension allows us to continue being good stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with. It also relieves the church from risky and stressful implementation of the program in affected areas. We hope to resume services once communication returns, and unrest subsides.
What support, if any, is in place for the church partners and participants during a suspension? How are we ensuring the safety of children and staff?
Since the start of the unrest, Compassion has facilitated emergency support and training to social workers, volunteers and pastors on care and support for children and youth with emotional trauma. Moreover, we are currently working to connect affected churches with the right training partners to reinforce trauma counseling for children, families, and the staff of frontline churches. We also intentionally equip frontline church partners in the areas of child protection and access to relief services provided by the government and other organizations. In areas that are no longer accessible to Compassion, we trust that our frontline church partners will continue to protect children and help them access relief as they are able.
What support is Compassion providing to participants and families impacted by the unrest?
Apart from the suspended frontline church partners that are inaccessible, Compassion is maintaining partnership with impacted churches through a package of interventions to meet the vital needs of children and families. These key interventions include food and hygiene kits for children and families, health care for children, gift delivery, regular communication with families for child protection matters and family wellbeing, and support for children's education.
Will Compassion try to go back into the inaccessible areas in the near future?
That is our desire. We cannot make any promises at this time without knowing how long these areas will continue to be affected by insecurity. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide regular updates to supporters about the impacts to our ministry, partners, and the children we serve.