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People with Disabilities: Opportunity in Agriculture

Feb. 27 | 2022

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Dr. Salifou Ouédraogo is a lecturer and director of rural development at the University of Bobo-Dioulasso, in Burkina Faso. Recently, he volunteered with a group of participants with disabilities to cover agricultural topics to progress their skills in agricultural production. The experience was unique for the participants with disabilities as many are not able to attend higher education or receive training otherwise. In addition, Dr. Salifou has never worked with people with disabilities. In the following videos, Dr. Salifou reflects on his experience with the training, the dedication of the participants, and the future for people with disabilities in Burkina Faso. 


Part One: What made the training unique and what did you overcome with the group? 

For Dr. Salifou being a teacher and lecturer is an everyday occasion but working with participants with disabilities is a new endeavor. As many people with disabilities are not able to reach university-level education in Burkina Faso, it was a unique experience for both Dr. Salifou as well as those in the training. Connecting the two parties allowed for them to both learn about each other, two worlds that wouldn’t otherwise cross. 


Part Two: What did you learn after working with participants who have disabilities? 

The perceptions of people with disabilities in Burkina Faso can overshadow the whole population. Dr. Salifou’s experience made him realize disabled people have an immense passion for learning about their area of agricultural production. By connecting farmers with disabilities with volunteers, they’re able to learn skills to increase their production and income, ultimately reflecting the need to support disabled people with educational resources in areas accessible to them. 


Part Three: What are the perceptions of people with disabilities in Burkina Faso and how is this different from what you experienced? 

Like many regions around the world, there is a negative connotation attached to those with disabilities. In reality, every person with a disability has something to offer given what is accessible to them. Through the volunteer experience, Dr. Salifou has seen first-hand the agricultural activities that people with disabilities are able to produce. In the future, he can see a change in the societal view of how disability is perceived.