News / 23 November 2018

Yacouba Sawadogo receives Right Livelihood Award!

Today, the Right Livelihood Awards 2018 will be presented in Stockholm. One of the four people who will receive the prize this year is Yacouba Sawadogo, 'the man who stopped the desert'. Yacouba, a farmer from Yatenga, Burkina Faso, is one of the founders of so-called 'Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration' with which degenerated and dry areas are becoming green and fertile again. According to Both ENDS, Yacouba's award is very well-deserved!

The man who stopped the desert

The Right Livelihood Award, also known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize', has been awarded since 1980 to honor and support courageous people and organizations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems.’ In the 1980s Yacouba began experimenting with traditional farming methods practiced by his ancestors. Although these methods had long been forgotten, they were nevertheless effective and sustainable. Over the years Yacouba created - by trial and error and by constantly improving his methods - a large fertile piece of land. With this proof, he then convinced many other farmers to do the same.


Both ENDS has been supporting various Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration initiatives in Burkina Faso and Niger for years because we are convinced that this method (or set of methods) has the future. Cheap, sustainable, effective and invented and introduced by people living in the region. In Burkina Faso the success of Yacouba has been further spread and also in Niger, very successful results have been achieved with 'natural regeneration', or regreening.

Building on Yacouba's success

In the coming ten years, Both ENDS and a large number of partner organisations from Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal will carry out a project called 'Communities Regreen the Sahel'. The intention is to regreen an area of ​​200,000 hectares with FMNR during those ten years. One of the pillars this project was built upon, was Yacouba's succes. The project would not have been realised without his exceptional achievement.

For more information:

A biography of Yacouba on the website of the Right Livelihood Award

Trailer of the documentary 'The Man Who Stopped the Desert' (from 2010 - about the life of Yacouba and the success of his work)

A short documentary (12 minutes) about Yacouba at the UNCCD COP in Korea in 2011.

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