Many people in the developing world have no choice but to make a living as subsistence farmers in extremely adverse conditions. In the West African Sahel, desertification threatens the food security and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. Lutheran World Relief’s agricultural projects help these farmers to rejuvenate their land and mitigate drought through the use of water harvesting and organic composting techniques. Today, vast swaths of barren land have been brought back to life through these interventions. This is a bold claim, but my drone helps to prove it!

Green patches of productive farmland have been reclaimed from the wilderness of Burkina Faso under the CORE II project thanks to water-harvesting and erosion-reduction techniques used by beneficiary farmers.

Lutheran World Relief also distributes early-maturing seeds to farmers across the region. Crops that once took seven or eight months to mature can be harvested in half that time, reducing the chances they will be lost to drought. Check out the above video piece I created as part of this assignment to learn more about this project’s impact.

Anro Sambo (45), a farmer living in Gnagna Province, Burkina Faso, has seen increased crop production under the CORE II project. Here he walks through his sorghum fields which have flourished in half-moon land formations that capture water and reduce soil erosion.
Early maturing cow pea seeds, seen here in the hands of beneficiary Thiombiano Falila (17), are distributed to farmers under the CORE II project in Gourma Province, Burkina Faso.
Thiombiano Larba (14) stands in her family’s sorghum field on their farm in Gourma Province, Burkina Faso. The family have received improved seeds and agricultural training through Lutheran World Relief’s CORE II project.
Farmers Noeli Timbindi (40, L) and Haro Pigdagdou (38, R) use a large protractor to sketch out a half-moon pattern in a maize field in Gnagna Province, Burkina Faso. Such formations, initiated under the CORE II project, help capture water and reduce soil erosion so farmers can farm more productively.
Farmers, including Anro Sambo (45, C) pitch in to construct a small stone wall to capture soil and direct rainfall in Gnagna Province, Burkina Faso.
Noeli Timbindi (40) stands in her maize field in Gnagna Province, Burkina Faso. Under the CORE II project, Mrs. Timbindi has learned water-harvesting techniques in order to farm successfully in difficult climates and environments.
Lutheran World Relief’s CORE II Project (Community-Led Food Crisis Recovery in the Sahel) is working with over 100,000 families in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.