BURKINA FASO – To address the pressing food safety concerns among chicken vendors in Burkina Faso, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has launched the Pull-Push project aiming to create ‘pull’ through consumers demanding safe food and ‘push’ by enforcing food safety regulations.
By cultivating an enabling environment and influencing behavior, the project aims to mitigate foodborne illnesses.
In the vibrant streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s bustling capital city, a culinary tradition takes center stage – chicken. Informal vendors line the streets, serving up this beloved staple either on its own or with a side of raw tomatoes and onions.
However, while chicken reigns supreme in the hearts of many, the country faces a significant food safety risk. With limited awareness of the dangers lurking in unsafe food practices, the need for action is dire.
As part of this ambitious endeavor, the Pull-Push project has recently turned its focus towards the heart of Burkina Faso’s informal food sector – the chicken vendors themselves.
A comprehensive training program, conducted between October 2022 and May 2023, provided 200 chicken street vendors with essential knowledge in chicken preparation, hygiene practices, and effective business management.
From regulators to chicken vendors: Training for a safer future
A gender-balanced team of expert trainers, representing various ministries and departments, crafted comprehensive training tools, including manuals, modules, guides, and practical resources.
Over nine interactive sessions, participants engaged in lively discussions, demonstrations, and laboratory experiments to drive home the importance of food safety.
The training team employed PowerPoint presentations, photos, films, group discussions, demonstrations, and plenary sessions during nine sessions, each spanning three half days.
The courses addressed a variety of subjects, such as a general review of food safety, information on foodborne illnesses, management of live chickens, procedures for handling carcasses after slaughter, food preparation, personal hygiene, outlet hygiene, and sanitation.
Participants also received instruction from a consultant on informal business management.
The impact of the training program was evident as participants expressed their gratitude for the initiative and their newfound commitment to implementing safer practices in their establishments.
Each vendor received a certificate of improvement and proof of training, proudly displayed in their shops to assure consumers of their commitment to food safety.
In line with the Pull-Push project’s sustainable approach, the training tools developed during the program will be shared with food inspection and regulation agencies, extending the impact beyond the initial participants.
By disseminating these resources, the project aims to promote the widespread adoption of best food safety practices, nurturing a robust food safety framework in Burkina Faso.
Nurturing a safer food culture
Beyond its immediate impact on food safety, the Pull-Push project’s efforts hold the potential to improve livelihoods and reduce economic costs associated with foodborne illnesses.
In empowering chicken vendors with knowledge and skills, the project contributes to a stronger informal food market, benefitting both consumers and vendors alike.