Yacouba Sawadogo is an exceptional man – he single-handedly managed to solve a crisis that many scientists and development organizations
could not. The simple old farmer’s re-forestation and soil conservation
techniques are so effective they’ve helped turn the tide in the fight
against the desertification of the harsh lands in northern Burkina Faso.
Over-farming, over-grazing and over population have, over the years,
resulted in heavy soil erosion and drying in this landlocked West
African nation. Although national and international researchers tried to
fix the grave situation, it really didn’t really make much of a
difference. Until Yacouba decided to take matters into his own hands in
Yacouba’s methods were so odd that his fellow farmers ridiculed him.
But when his techniques successfully regenerated the forest, they were
forced to sit up and take notice. Yacouba revived an ancient African
farming practice called ‘zai’, which led to forest growth and increased