Kardiatou Kabore born Hema
This profile was prepared when Kardiatou Kabore born Hema was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
An experienced professional in the field of forestry, Kardiatou has long been concerned with the hundreds of tree species being threatened by encroaching desertification and the felling of wood for fuel, a very common practice among women. She is also troubled by the lack of diversity in local food choices in urban and peri-urban areas in Burkina Faso, which coupled with rapidly rising food prices, is leading to a dangerous situation. Kardiatou saw the solution to these problems in linking biodiversity work with an economic stimulus initiative. By combining vegetable gardens with wild tree nurseries, she helps improve the natural environment of urban and peri-urban village areas while also providing the resources necessary to ensure better health and nutrition for women and their children, especially those living below the poverty line. The sale of leaves, for food and medical purposes, and fruit from these trees can be worth several times the value of vegetables occupying the same amount of soil and water. Addtionally, selling small trees for reforestation also represents a great source of revenue. In the last five years, her Association of Women Foresters in Burkina has started a new trend of introducing forest species into gardens. In Burkina Faso, women’s associations with vegetable gardens now have more than two hundred species of trees and bushes. Her plan is to reach out to women’s organizations in different countries in the Sahel and broaden her tree nursery campaign to cover as many as four hundred different species.