Volunteer Security Auxiliaries to combat youth unemployment

Volunteer Security Auxiliaries to combat youth unemployment

Volunteer Security Auxiliaries (Volontaires Adjoints de Sécurité or VADS) are security auxiliaries placed at the disposal of the internal security forces. This measure helps develop social safety nets and aims to reduce youth unemployment by facilitating their labour market integration.


Unemployment in Burkina Faso affects young people in particular, especially in urban areas. According to the results of the comprehensive survey of household living conditions (EICVM 2009-10), the rate of unemployment rate is 8.5% in urban areas, compared with 2.2% in rural areas, not to mention the problem of visible underemployment, estimated at 24.9%, and the difficulties young graduates have in finding an appropriate level of employment. This situation has contributed to the social discontent that has been rife in the country since 2011. To respond to the concerns of the various levels of society, on 11 September 2013 the Council of Ministers took measures to foster job creation; raise the salaries of public and private sector workers; and consolidate social safety nets for vulnerable groups. In particular, the government authorised the recruitment of 3,000 volunteer security auxiliaries (VADS). The measure was subsequently extended in 2017.


The VADS are recruited among vulnerable young men and women aged 18 to 40, based on physical and sporting competitions organised in the 13 regions of Burkina Faso. The successful candidates are hired for a one-year renewable period. Their monthly salary is fixed at XOF 50,000 (~76 euros) with no social protection. VADS are present in all the communes, especially in the big cities. The capital Ouagadougou alone has more than 1,000 VADS. Their mission is to provide back-up to the internal security forces in prevention, assistance and support. They are responsible for the following tasks:

  • Helping security services with road traffic control
  • Strengthening surveillance measures in risk areas
  • Contributing to any other actions performed by the security services


Since the launch of the recruitment drive in 2013, more than 10,000 young people in vulnerable situations have benefited from this employment opportunity. The measure has gained in popularity as it illustrates the government’s commitment to investing in young people. It has facilitated their labour market integration. The VADS have managed to create a local link between the population and security forces.


  • Labour market integration of vulnerable young people
  • Improved road safety (reduction in the number of accidents at major crossroads, smooth flow of traffic, etc.)
  • Capacity-building of internal security forces


Success factors

  • Strong political will to ensure sustainable financing
  • Buy-in of young people
  • Acceptance by the population
  • Management of VADS

Lessons learned

  • VADS integrate easily into society at the end of their contract
  • The absence of an aid fund for VADS in the event of accident or illness at work limits their effectiveness.
  • The non-compliance of the texts governing the employment of VADS with the legislation in force exposes the State to legal proceedings (in particular with regard to the lack of social protection).


  • Strong demand for employment relative to capacity for recruitment
  • Appropriate first aid training
  • Revaluation of the monthly allowance for VADS
  • Creating of an autonomous VADS management structure
  • Increasing the financial capacity of the management structure


There are VADS in all the communes of Burkina Faso. The programme requires financial resources and an abundant and dynamic workforce. The experience can be replicated in other countries in the region.


Ministry in charge of security


SE-CNSA and the private sector


Division de la circulation et de la sécurité routière (DCSR)


  • Burkina Faso


  • Employment & revenues
  • Local actors & livelihoods
  • Poverty
  • Social affairs & social protection
  • Youth


  • Poor workers in the informal economy
  • Youth

Agir Pillars

  • Pillar 1: Improve social protection for the most vulnerable communities and households in order to secure their livelihoods


  • Local
  • National

Sustainable development goals