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Strengthening the livelihoods of vulnerable households and preventing child labour through cash transfers in Burkina Faso

Promotion of income-generating activities in cotton-producing areas

Despite measures taken both at the international and national level, child labour is a persistent reality in Burkina Faso. The factors behind the prevalence of child labour in the country are numerous and interconnected. They are linked to socioeconomic, cultural, educational, political, and disaster-related circumstances.

In this context, FAO, in partnership with the International Labour Organization, implemented a conditional cash transfer programme between 2019 and 2023 within a project funded by the European Union called “CLEAR Cotton: Elimination of child labour and forced labour in cotton, textile and value chains”.

This promising practice fact sheet describes the design, implementation and lessons learned of the project based on the use of cash transfers as an assistance modality associated with awareness-raising on child labour and the promotion of children's access to the education system, while also establishing the foundations of a partnership between the agriculture, education, and social sectors.


  • On cash transfers: The use of cash transfers as an assistance modality allows for more timely and more efficient interventions. Cash guarantees greater flexibility for beneficiaries to purchase what they need the most and to invest in income-generating activities of their choice, thereby strengthening the local economy. Cash increases the ownership and responsibility of beneficiaries towards whatever is purchased or established thanks to the transfer.
  • On child labour: Child labour overwhelmingly occurs in the agriculture sector, which accounts for 70 percent of child labour worldwide. Interventions to contrast and to raise awareness on child labour in agriculture are more likely to achieve long-term results when they are associated with the provision of means to establish alternative sources of income. Facilitating children’s access to the education system, for example through cash transfers conditional on the integration or reintegration of children in the school system, contributes to their development and reduces the chances of them going back to work, while also laying the foundations of a partnership between agriculture, education and social sectors.
  • On localization: The involvement of government structures and civil society organizations in the management of cash transfers strengthens the programmatic and operational capacities of local and national actors and enables a wider adoption and scale-up of social protection programmes that sustain agricultural livelihoods and empower women.
  • On gender: The project showed that exclusively targeting women and assisting them in developing alternative sources of income can improve their livelihoods by enabling their access to knowledge through training, to financial resources and to markets. This also improves their self-esteem and increases their decision-making power within their household. Female beneficiaries were selected using the method of analysis of the household economy. Additional criteria were considered:
    • households with children working in cotton production;
    • households having removed children from cotton production to enroll them in the alternative education system thanks to the Strategy accelerated/bridge schooling (SSAP), following the operation of sensitization;
    • households having enrolled and retained children in the conventional education system after the SSAP phase;
    • women already engaged in an income-generating activity.



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