AFRICA · Burkina Faso

A tireless creative innovator

A high-level mobilizer, an exceptional integrity and complete dedication for the development of the poorest of the poor, characterize Catherine Ouedraogo (47, originally from Réo). She is as comfortable with men as she is with women, an important ability for the mobilization of the population in rural areas. This explains her impressive impact. The prize honors her work in mobilizing the whole East-Center Quada region of Burkina Faso, which allowed her to reach exceptional results in a short period of time.


Among her achievements, let us mention her creation of pedagogical training methods for the production of soap to be sold locally, especially the manufacture of liquid soap, an original innovation in the region, which has become very successful.

After nine months, sales multiplied by 16, assuring women a decent income. Catherine Ouedraogo also had an important impact in the protection of the environment (construction of anti-erosive sites, the use of organic waste composting, safeguarding clearings through spreading straw, etc.

She had an especially significant impact on the school enrolment of girls. In a country where, in regard to education, girls come after boys, there are now more girls than boys in schools. She never gives up in the face of difficulties; she leaves her home early in the morning to get to the village before leaving to tend her fields. Her pedagogy is based on listening, transparency, proximity and warm human relations, the sharing of knowledge and total integration in her community.

Burkina Faso is among the 50 least developed countries in the world with a life expectancy of 48 years. Schooling is free but not compulsory, and only about 29 percent of Burkina's primary school-age children receive a basic education.