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WASH Severity Classification (WSC): Burkina Faso Pilot, December 2020

Burkina Faso
IMPACT Initiatives
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Of the three analysed provinces, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) severity was highest in Gourma, which was classified as WASH Severity Classification (WSC) Phase 4 (Critical). The provinces of Houet and Séno were classified in Phase 3 (Crisis). The analysis shows that more than half (58%) the population of the analysed provinces is in Phase 3, Crisis (38%) or in Phase 4, Critical (20%). More than 32,000 people were classified as being in Phase 5, Catastrophic (0.5%). This situation is mostly due to a chronic lack of investment in infrastructure, mainly in water services.

With the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the north-east of the country and the resulting displacement of people, this infrastructure is under even greater pressure and waiting times at water points are very long, limiting the ability of households to collect sufficient water for all uses.


The results presented in this report come from the WSC’s second pilot exercise, a training and analysis workshop held from 24 November to 4 December 2020. The training was attended by 47 participants representing 19 WASH actors in the development and humanitarian fields, including representatives of the Burkinabe government, United Nations (UN) agencies, and national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Of these participants, 32 attended the analysis workshop, coming from 18 organisations, and are referred to as ‘analysts’ in this report.

Prior to the workshop, data sources pertaining to different areas of the WSC Analytical Framework were identified, reviewed, and pre-processed for analysis. Data was collated from a range of sources, including government databases, UN agency and NGO assessments and situation reports. A full list of sources used in the analysis is provided at the end of the document.

In accordance with the WSC Analysis Protocols, analysts collectively and iteratively analysed this information, drawing on their own technical and contextual expertise where needed to question, validate, or supplement the data. Through this process, analysts reached consensus on the severity classifications for the three analysed provinces (Gourma, Houet, and Séno) and the key factors driving the situation, all of which are presented in this report. Future WSC exercises are expected to be implemented at a nationwide scale.

About the WSC

The WASH Severity Classification (WSC) is a new interagency global initiative led by the Global WASH Cluster, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and IMPACT Initiatives. Developed at the global level through a participatory process, the WSC project aims to develop a standardized approach to classifying the severity of WASH needs and vulnerabilities across contexts. For more information, contact