The University of Arizona

Documenting livelihood trajectories in the context of development interventions in northern Burkina Faso

Colin Thor West


The northern Central Plateau of Burkina Faso has been the site of extensive development assistance since the 1980s. Thousands of hectares of degraded land have been rehabilitated through investments in Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) techniques. Comprehensive assessments of these projects have documented their beneficial impacts. This study extends these insights to consider the effects of SWC on livelihood sustainability by comparing recent household-level indicators with studies conducted twenty years earlier. Comparing quantitative data from two different points in time allows researchers to identify 'livelihood trajectories', or the general direction of either improvement or decline. The results show that although SWC investments have improved the natural capital of Mossi households, improvements in other forms of capital have accrued mostly among wealthy households.

Key words: Livelihoods, development, Mossi, Burkina Faso 

Full Text: