Digital development to support entrepreneurial women in Burkina Faso

Designing digital technologies to support sustainable business of tree products by women cooperatives in Burkina Faso

A Computer Science master research by Marie-Lou David – supervision is done by Anna Bon (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), the co-supervision by Hans Akkermans (AKMC), Stéphane Boyera (SBC4D) January – June 2024.

Trees and forests in Burkina Faso are great providers for their surrounding communities. People can sustainably harvest many different nuts, leaves, fruits and more to make nutritional, medicinal or helpful products, also called Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). In Burkina Faso, NTFPs are very beneficial to rural communities. Mainly women exploit NTFP. Still, the market for NTFP is underdeveloped. To help women selling NTFPs in their venture, and thus gaining more independence, this research project is aimed at improving the marketing of NTFPs through the use of ICTs. In a context of huge gaps in digital literacy in low resouce environments, we will focus on understanding rural women’s context, technological skills and needs to design digital solutions to help promote the sales NTFPs. With this, we aim to contribute to bridging the digital divide that still exists, with respect to many low resource environments. NTFPs represent a sustainable resource for many communities in Burkina Faso. Therefore, a validated method to design scalable user-centered digital solutions to support trade of NTFPs is the contribution of this study. (see picture below)

Design workshop in Reo, Burkina Faso, March 2024 with 17 women cooperatives.