Since the first appearance of COVID-19 in Burkina Faso, the national IUF Women’s Committee and the IUF national Coordination Committee have stepped in where employers and public authorities have been unwilling or unable to provide adequate protection for workers. They have been supplying soap, masks and disinfectant and informing members how to protect themselves, their families and their communities, on and off the job. They have been working with civil society organizations to maximize the impact on local communities.
The Women’s Committee has collaborated for several years with a national personal product company to teach women working in the informal economy how to make soap. With the knowledge gained, the women have been making liquid soap in containers with information on COVID-19 for distribution to IUF members, in their workplaces or at affiliates’ offices.
On April 27 the IUF Coordination Committee organized a distribution to affiliates of soap, disinfectant and locally designed face masks in the capital city Ouagadougou. National Coordinator Bassirou Ouédraogo emphasized the importance of maintaining rigorous sanitation and protection throughout the crisis, at work and at home. He also called on the government to ensure respect for worker rights during the health emergency and after, citing several cases of employers who, under cover of the crisis, had dismissed union members in retaliation for exercising their rights.