Burkina Faso

The project Strengthening the Social Protection System in Burkina Faso was launched in April 2020 and will be developed over three years. Its impact is expected to reduce vulnerabilities and strengthen social cohesion through an effective and sustainable social protection system, aiming at universal coverage. The action plan includes a comprehensive review of the national social protection system and expenditures, as well as recommendations with all stakeholders for building a social protection floor and ensuring sustainable financing. Technical support is provided towards implementing and strengthening universal health insurance, community-based social services, targeting mechanisms for households in poverty and vulnerability, and building adaptive social protection based on a humanitarian-development nexus approach.

The context of the security crisis, climatic disasters and the economic shock linked to COVID-19 constitute the main challenges, orienting the interventions of national actors and partners towards households in vulnerable situations, particularly displaced persons, and the poorest households, with an increase in cash and in-kind transfer programs. Current thinking on social protection is focused on humanitarian responses and the fight against poverty, with less emphasis on the implementation of universal health insurance (RAMU) and the extension of social protection to the informal economy. The construction of a long-term social protection system remains essential to a solid peace and to the country’s prosperity. In this context, the project strategy focuses on interventions that will raise awareness of the importance of long-term social protection schemes and services, such as RAMU, and to strengthen the capacity of the social protection system to respond to shocks.   

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the humanitarian crisis, the government requested the project’s support to accelerate targeting the most vulnerable through community monitoring system mechanisms, including a community control and social accountability mechanism. In addition, the project provided technical advice for the development of a complementary intervention funded by the Belgian government that will help accelerate the implementation and rollout of the Universal Health Insurance Scheme (RAMU). Another opportunity to scale up the project results lies in developing the new national social protection strategy. The independent evaluation of the National Social Protection Policy supported by the project offers an opportunity to deepen the reflection for the strengthening of the social protection system and financing, which is further supported by an investment case study.  

Key results achieved in 2020-23

Project implementation during the 2019-2021 period focused primarily on supporting the social protection framework reform process, having achieved the following results:

  • Four technical studies were conducted to inform the national dialogue on the development of the new national social protection strategy: (1) development of the social protection monitoring and evaluation framework; (2) generation of evidence for the preparation of a social protection financing strategy; (3) preliminary reflection document for the implementation of an unemployment insurance scheme; and (4) ex-ante impact assessment of cash transfer programmes.
  • Two sessions of the Steering Committee for the development of the SNPS were held in November and December 2022 respectively in order to validate the diagnostic report and the definition of the strategic axes. A third session validated the strategic elements and the results framework of the SNPS (15-16 February 2023). The next steps will be to finalise the strategy document, the operational action plan, the strategy monitoring and evaluation plan, and the draft texts and institutional arrangements.

  • Additional resources have been mobilised from the Government of Belgium to strengthen social protection in Burkina Faso, mainly with a view to extending access to health protection.
  • As part of the national response to COVID-19, the search for synergies between existing systems and coordination mechanisms to extend coverage to workers in the informal economy led to support for a rapid assessment of the impact of the pandemic on the informal sector. The study highlighted the critical role of professional organisations and trade unions, some of which initiated cash and in-kind support measures for their members during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • An inter-union committee on social protection was created, bringing together focal points from the six central trade unions members of the Unité d’Action Syndicale (UAS). The collaboration aimed to develop a pool of expertise and ensure trade unions’ effective and informed participation in national forums on social protection, including universal health insurance.
  • In collaboration with the ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV), the project supported capacity building activities for the inter-union committee and representatives of the UAS, aiming to (1) strengthen the knowledge and capacities of the trade union centres for stronger participation in the process of developing a new national social protection strategy; (2) share a common vision of social protection, based on international instruments and the specific needs of workers in Burkina Faso; and (3) reflect on the role of workers’ organisations in the extension of social protection and on the areas of intervention needed to achieve this.
  • Within the framework of the support to the operationalisation of the Universal Health Insurance Scheme (RAMU), the project has carried out: (1) an inventory of social mutuality in Burkina Faso; (2) a study to identify a method of economic categorisation of people employed in the informal economy and define equitable contribution levels for universal health insurance. This study complements the actuarial valuation and aims to promote an equitable system of financing universal health insurance while being simple to implement and control and consistent with other systems, including that of the tax administration; (3) the institutional diagnosis of the Universal Health Insurance Fund (CNAMU) and the architecture of the national social health protection system; (4) an actuarial study of health insurance; (5) the adaptation and deployment of a health insurance information system, with the open-source software OpenIMIS (Swiss TPH, GIZ and ILO collaboration).
  • Also for the operationalisation of the RAMU – which foresees the delegation of certain functions to social mutuals considering their proximity to the population -, a national workshop on the contribution of social mutuals to the implementation of universal health insurance was held with the technical and financial support of the SP&PFM programme. This workshop made it possible to: (1) summarise the various consultations that have taken place since the launch of the universal health insurance project in 2008. From these consultations, we can note the special place given to social mutuals for the extension of the RAMU to actors in the informal economy, the rural áreas and the poor, and the need to strengthen the capacities of these mutual structures, (2) to adopt a roadmap comprising thirteen (13) actions to enable social mutuals to fully play their role in the operationalisation of the RAMU.

  • With regard to the extension of social protection, the project supports the development of a monograph on the extension of social protection to actors in the informal economy, which will be finalised and validated by national partners in April 2023.
  • As part of the preparation of the new social protection strategy, the terms of reference for a comprehensive social protection review have been developed. The review should promote the formulation of recommendations aimed at strengthening the social protection system and building basic guarantees for all, based on a rights-based approach and sustainable financing.
  • As part of the development of the new national social protection strategy 2023-2027, a monitoring committee for the development of the strategy was set up and thematic groups were created with the aim of informing the elaboration of the strategy through sectoral consultations; the monitoring committee held two sessions for the framing of the study and the validation of the diagnostic report; the thematic groups held three meetings for the enrichment of the diagnostic analysis, the definition of the strategic axes and the harmonisation of the programmatic framework. The new strategy will be launched in March 2023. It aims to strengthen the social protection system and build basic guarantees for all, based on a rights-based approach and with sustainable financing.
  • Concerning the responsiveness of the social protection system to shocks, UNICEF and the ILO, through the PFM&SP project, and the World Bank and the WFP, through an adaptive social protection programme, have initiated a dialogue to seek points of convergence and articulation between the two initiatives.
  • In addition, the project participates in high-level advocacy with technical and financial partners that led to the adoption of a decree creating a single social register. This register is necessary for strengthening the national social protection system and developing social protection adapted to shocks. The ILO and UNICEF, as well as the World Bank, the EU Delegation, WFP and FAO are part of a technical working group that supports the government in the implementation of the single social register.



  • National workshop on social mutuality and its contribution to the operationalisation of universal health insurance (RAMU): the role of actors and stakeholders, Koudougou, Burkina Faso, 22-25 November 2022
  • “Third session of the technical committee for the follow-up of the study on the evaluation of existing databases of poor and vulnerable households and individuals in Burkina Faso” in the context of the implementation of the Single Social Register (RSU), 24 June 2022. (*)
  • Workshop to develop the methodology and tools for targeting poor and vulnerable households and individuals for the Single Social Register (RSU), 6-10 June 2022. (*)
  • Capacity building workshop for trade union centres on social protection and its extension to workers in the informal economy, Koudougou, Burkina Faso, 14-19 June 2021
  • “Forum on the old age insurance scheme for informal sector workers” – National Social Security Fund (CNSS), 02-04 November 2021. (*)
  • “Colloquium on the informal economy” – Ministry in charge of the informal economy and National Council for the Informal Economy (CNEI), 02-03 November 2021. (*)
  • Eighth Ordinary Session of the National Council for Social Protection (CNPS)” – Primature, 04 August 2020. (*)

(*) The project participated in these events.

Project partners

The project is implemented jointly by the ILO and UNICEF, in close collaboration with the European Union delegation in Burkina Faso. It aims to support national actors and external partners in carrying out a national dialogue process to improve the social protection system. These actors include the Permanent Secretariat of the National Council for Social Protection (SP-CNPS), ministries and public institutions, social partners, technical and financial partners, and NGOs and civil society actors.


Chantal Marie Laure BAKO/KANKYONO, OIT, bako-kankyono@ilo.org

Chrystian Solofo-Dimby, Unicef csolofodimby@unicef.org

Woman taking care of orphan children at her home in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, October, 2020.

Capacity building workshop for trade union on social protection and its extension to informal economy workers held in Koudougou, from 17 to 19 June 2021.