• Service: Advisory
  • Type: KPMG information
  • Date: 12/18/2013

Mogho Naaba bans accusations of witchcraft and protects rights of elderly women  

28 women who had been branded as witches and banned from their villages to live in “witch camps” were welcomed back into the community in Burkina Faso. Accusations of witchcraft were banned by the Mogho Naaba (supreme king of the Mossi people) in Boussé and the other 14 villages of the Kourweogo province. A further 725 women (mainly elderly), traditional and religious leaders and family leaders became aware of their rights and how to claim them. The chief in Boussé organised a reconciliation ceremony to apologise to all the women that had previously been banned.
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Context and Theory of Change


Key elements of context


  • Patriarchal society where men are the primary authority for social organisation and play central roles in political leadership, moral authority and property control.
  • Chiefs, especially the Supreme King of Mossis, the Mogho Naaba, wield great powers and command respect and influence in the Mossi Kingdom
  • Women are always in a position of subordination
  • Communities are very rigid and conservative in upholding traditional norms and superstitions
  • Old woman from deceased families are often accused of causing their death through witchcraft leading to the banishment of the accused from the community for life to live in witch camps.


Theory of change


Old women were the primary beneficiaries of this micro‐project, as they are the most vulnerable people in the target communities. The theory of change, developed during needs assessment with the communities, was that improving their knowledge on human rights would empower them to insist on their rights and to seek support from the structures put in place to protect them. Other beneficiaries include the traditional rulers (village chiefs and community leaders) and the general public. Improving human rights understanding of all the beneficiaries would also have a positive impact on the community as a whole, causing them to rethink the plight of the victims of banishment.


It was initially anticipated that the custodians of traditional norms and the owners of the witch camps would resist intervention as they might see it as a threat to their interests. It was therefore necessary to involve two divisional chiefs as micro project participants with the support of the Supreme Mossi King, the Mogho Naaba, to ensure the authority coming from the support of the traditional rulers and custodians of traditional values and norms of the Mossi people.