South of Burkina Faso in West Africa is still rich in wildlife and biodiversity in general although its rural populations are among the poorest on earth, including the Kassena tribe.
On one side traditional knowledge of medicinal plants tends to be lost while the entire rural population of the Kassena has solely relied on plants for health since young age, and on the other side, pressure on natural resources is so important that traditional healers find it much more difficult to find the plants they need for their people.
The promotion of medicinal plants in controlled settings can contribute considerably to showing the importance of biodiversity and motivating its conservation.
Preserving the interest of local communities and knowledge holders requires enhancing the use and value of local medicinal plants – in frameworks of protocols like the one of Nagoya – and compiling knowledges in writing acknowledging the origins of the data is a fundamental first step.
The idea of the project initiated by the local NGO Ga Mo Wigna and the French non-profit organization Man And The Environment (which has already taken similar steps for a community in Madagascar and Cambodia) is to set up a program to ensure traditional knowledge can be kept but also promote sustainable use of local medicinal plants to support the protection of threatened plants and natural habitats.