It is with great sadness that The Hunger Project family around the world mourns the passing of Professor Idrissa Dicko, who has been a beloved staff member for more than 20 years, first as head of our country office in Burkina Faso and as Vice President for Africa Programs for the last seven years in the New York-based office.
Prof. Dicko, or “Prof,” as many of his colleagues lovingly referred to him, held a Ph.D. in Agricultural Entomology from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining The Hunger Project, he served as a professor at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso for 15 years, where he was also administrative director of the Institute of Rural Development. His research is well-documented in publications throughout the world.
In 2000, Prof. Dicko was awarded the Medal of the National Order, his country’s highest honor.
At The Hunger Project, Professor Dicko has worked with our Country Directors and teams to implement the Epicenter Strategy, an integrated approach to end hunger and poverty that was created in Africa, by Africans and, over the past 20 years, has mobilized well over 100 epicenter communities, reaching 1.6 million people in eight countries across the continent. At the heart of this approach and Prof. Dicko’s philosophy has always been the self-reliance of communities to lead their own development.
Under Prof. Dicko’s leadership, the Epicenter Strategy has been greatly enhanced due to his focus on continuous learning and improvement. Over the last few years, the first 15 Hunger Project communities across Africa, serving 211,697 people, have declared their self-reliance after demonstrating their progress across a diverse set of program indicators — in areas of food security, health, education, women’s empowerment, climate resilience and more. This has been a monumental achievement for these communities and a particular testament to Prof. Dicko’s unwavering commitment to the self-reliance of the communities with whom we are working and to the ultimate goal of ending hunger and poverty in Africa.
Prof. Dicko provided regional and global leadership at the highest levels, often meeting with heads of state, ministers, regional bodies and other leaders to advocate for the adoption of gender-focused, community-led development approaches like the Epicenter Strategy — which culminated, for example, in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He also spearheaded efforts to enhance the capacity of our African country offices and their national boards to raise local funding, including leading the way to a $1.2 million grant from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa via the Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research in Burkina Faso for innovative food security work.
Prof. Dicko was a beloved staff leader with an enormous heart and a great sense of humor. Deeply kind and an excellent listener, he encouraged and supported the development of staff across the organization. Prof. Dicko will be greatly missed by his Hunger Project family worldwide. With support and love, we stand with his wife Odile; sons Nassirou, Souleymane, Salif Jean-Luc and Bachir Malick; his siblings and the rest of his family and friends during this difficult time.
We will share information regarding a special honoring of Professor Dicko with The Hunger Project community as it is planned. Should you wish to be kept informed about any arrangements or to send any special messages of support, please be in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.