Informal risk-sharing arrangements (IRSAs) in rural Burkina Faso: Lessons for the development of community-based insurance (CBI)

  • Sommerfeld J
  • Sanon M
  • Kouyate B
 et al. 
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In resource-poor environments, community-based insurance (CBI) is increasingly being propagated as a strategy to improve access of poor rural populations to modern health care. It has been repeatedly hypothesized that CBI schemes need to be grounded in national as well as local traditions of solidarity. This paper presents a typology of informal risk sharing arrangements (IRSAs) in a rural area of North-Western Burkina Faso and discusses their modus operandi as well as the underlying concepts of solidarity and reciprocity. The research was explicitly multi-disciplinary, combining anthropological and economic as well as qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. Focus group and interview data were complemented by a census of existing IRSAs. In addition to presenting the main features of existing institutions, the paper discusses whether IRSAs can serve as entry points for CBI schemes. In spite of the fact that existing IRSAs fulfil important solidarity functions in the rural Burkinian context, we conclude that they cannot serve as institutional models for more formalized CBI schemes. Community participation in a future CBI scheme will need to tap into existing notions of solidarity and mutuality. The CBI scheme itself, however, needs to be newly tailored.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Burkina Faso
  • Community-based insurance (CBI)
  • Reciprocity
  • Risk sharing
  • Solidarity

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  • Johannes Sommerfeld

  • Mamadou Sanon

  • Bocar A. Kouyate

  • Rainer Sauerborn

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