Impact of Women Empowerment in Agriculture on under Five Children Nutritional Outcomes in Rural Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso faces variable rainfall, land degradation, and desertification which impact its agriculture. As a result, Burkina Faso is experiencing recurring food crises and permanent food insecurity, and until 2018 the country faced a serious level of hunger. Indeed, more than 3.5 million Burkinabe (20%) are food insecure. Women and children are the most impacted by this situation as they constitute the most vulnerable group. Many children under the age of five were suffering from (acute) malnutrition, as undernourishment is 21.8% and stunting at 27.3%. According to Aitatikie, nutritional status is the manifestation of factors such as access to and distribution of food in the household, availability and use of health services, and childcare. During the last two decades, there has been sufficient interest in the causes of malnutrition and ways to reduce it, but the role of women in the nutritional status of children has often been ignored. The research on which this policy brief is based focuses on how women empowerment in agricultural activities could improve children nutrition outcomes in rural households. It provides empirical evidence on the accurate effect of empowerment on children nutrition outcomes in agricultural households in Burkina Faso. The research is relevant for Burkina Faso context as women empowerment is not only crucial in achieving gender equity but also in increasing agriculture productivity and hunger and poverty reduction. Thus, the study on which this policy brief is based on highlights the role of women in fighting hunger and poverty in agricultural households where they and their children are the most vulnerable. Overall, the research contributes to the literature linking women’s empowerment in agriculture to child nutrition outcomes in developing countries, in Burkina Faso in particular.