Global Farmer Field School Platform

The agro-pastoral field school approach for strengthening the climate resilience of rural communities in Burkina Faso


In Burkina Faso, climate change is having significant impacts on agroforestry, fish and wildlife ecosystems, threatening the livelihoods of the vast majority of rural communities whose difficult socio-economic situation limits their resilience. In the face of climate change, the actions of these communities are more a matter of "forced" change of practices or spontaneous response to hazards, sometimes with negative consequences on the sustainability of the systems.

Since 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with public and private actors in the rural sector, has been using the Agropastoral Field Schools (APFS) approach to build the climate resilience capacities of agropastoralists. More than an extension approach to climate-smart practices and technologies, the agropastoral field schools contribute to strengthening the knowledge and skills of agropastoralists so that they become experts and innovators in their own production systems.

Pilot participatory training activities for agropastoralists through the APFS have reached six regions (out of 13 regions) in the Sahelian zone (300 to 600 mm of rain per year with less than 45 rainy days) and the Sudano-Sahelian zone (600 to 900 mm of rain per year and 50 to 70 rainy days). The country currently has 25 master trainers and over 300 APFS facilitators. Also, more than 20,000 agropastoralists have been trained through the establishment of nearly 1,000 APFS.

The success of the agro-pastoral field school approach in Burkina Faso is reflected in its adoption as a flagship tool for extension and advisory support systems in the agro-sylvo-pastoral sectors, as well as the creation of an inter-ministerial committee to support its scaling up. However, two major challenges remain. These include the integration of the APFS approach into the training curricula of universities and agro-sylvo-pastoral vocational training schools and the sustainable financing of its scaling up.

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