Bouda Blandine

Ashoka Fellow
Burkina Faso,
Fellow Since 2012
Association des Dolitieres et Revendeuses de Dolo du Kadiogo

Citation

This profile was prepared when Bouda Blandine was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Blandine is changing the public’s perception of socially excluded women by first profoundly improving the lives of these women. She is enabling women to pull themselves out of poverty, to improve their health and to exert a greater influence on family decisions—such as whether or not to force their young daughters to marry. At the core of her approach is educating women on a range of subjects, including social and environmental issues, so that they can change their own actions and prompt others to change as well. Blandine is beginning with women who produce dolo, a traditional beer-like beverage, because they are the least respected due to their profession. These dolo producers are often the subjects of malicious gossip because of their association with alcohol and male strangers.

Blandine enables the dolo makers to become successful, respected business women by increasing access to literacy courses, by disseminating cost-saving methods of dolo production and advising on the importance of paying taxes. Blandine educates women on health issues such as hygiene, HIV prevention and family planning. She hosts conversations about the consequences of forcing daughters to marry at a young age, and guides women on how to lead discussions with their husbands and families to prevent early marriage. Blandine couples this education with action and resources to enable women to improve their business, health and the environment.

While this education is targeted at dolo makers, women of all professions are invited to learn, thus educating all women and solidifying the dolo producers as role models supporting other women. Repositioning the dolo producers as leaders is one way that Blandine is revaluing the dolo profession and changing public perception of the producers. Additionally, she increases awareness of the dolo producers’ new role in protecting the environment, improving health and leading others to address social issues in their community. She is spreading this message with a combination of high profile media appearances, engagement with political and administrative authorities and a series of fairs that integrate beer producers with other professions and create a forum to dispel myths. Blandine is first beginning with the most difficult case and improving the lives of the most marginalized women. By making them role models for other women, Blandine is changing perceptions of all women and demonstrating that the image of women of any profession can be improved.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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