Burkina Faso woman with chickens


Our Experience


Burkina Soutenir l’Exploitation Familiales pour Lancer l’Elevage des Volailles et Valoriser l’Economie Rurale (SELEVER)


Program Background

Soutenir l’Exploitation Familiales pour Lancer l’Elevage des Volailles et Valoriser l’Economie Rurale (SELEVER) is a five-year Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded program designed to improve the nutritional status of women and children in rural Burkina Faso by strengthening women’s economic empowerment through increased poultry production.


There is a significant market for local poultry in Burkina Faso, particularly in Ouagadougou where 30,000 chickens are eaten every day. Imported chickens do not satisfy local preferences—people demand the local varieties for their exceptional taste. It is estimated that demand for local chickens will increase by 1,400 tons per year over the next 10 years (FAOSTAT). 


Learn more about why the Gates Foundation is investing in chickens in Burkina Faso.

Program Approach

SELEVER takes a learning approach to demonstrate market potential, foster win-win partnerships, and share costs and risks on trials and adoption of new poultry practices. SELEVER partners with local organizations, microfinance institutions, and the government to facilitate systemic change in the poultry sector by helping female poultry producers access key services, including feed, vaccinations, and finance. This facilitation will help reduce mortality and multiply flock growth, thereby increasing revenue and improving the nutritional status at the household level.


SELEVER also works at the community level to raise awareness and change social norms about entrepreneurship opportunities for women throughout the poultry value chain. We target activities toward women, while also engaging men, to improve women’s positions in the household and ownership over income from poultry. SELEVER will demonstrate that when women are empowered, they can obtain a sufficient quality and quantity of diverse foods for their households and improve nutritional outcomes. A gender analysis conducted at the start of the project helped inform the activities and messages that will ensure we reach these goals.


Program Accomplishments

Since its launch in 2015, SELEVER has expanded into three regions of Burkina Faso: Boucle du Mouhoun, Centre Ouest, and Hauts-Bassins

  • Integrating technology: SELEVER worked with a local production company to produce eight poultry training videos, which program participants watch on tablets. The program also implemented a mobile data collection platform that directly uploads data from an app on mobile phones and tablets into the central M&E database.
  • Working with local government: SELEVER has partnered with the Ministry of Animal Resources in all three program regions. The ministry works side-by-side with the program and its partners to support the provision of services to poultry producers.

  • Spurring local innovation: Local poultry producers and entrepreneurs are invited to submit poultry-related business ideas. The program selects the best ideas based on impact, market feasibility, and experience and then works with the entrepreneurs to develop a detailed business plan in which the program invests.

  • Increasing access to finance: SELEVER worked with several of its partners to develop new poultry finance products for program participants. SELEVER has provided guarantee funds to local microfinance institutions for loans made to poultry producers.

  • Understanding and addressing challenges: SELEVER conducted a gender analysis to identify and make recommendations to address gender gaps, challenges, risks, and opportunities related to the program.


Program Impact

  • Reach 30,000 poultry producers, equipping them to decrease poultry mortality and increase their incomes
  • Increase poultry producers access to poultry value chain services, including finance
  • Strengthen value chain actors, particularly village vaccinators, to provide services to poultry producers
  • Increase women and children’s dietary diversity
  • Increase women’s empowerment


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