A woman in an arid field on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, which used to be fertile farmland [Sam Mednick/Al Jazeera]

Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso – Growing up in a community of farmers in northern Burkina Faso, KI, who prefers that his full name not be used for safety reasons, never wanted for much. His family ate what they sowed and bred enough cattle to feel financially secure. But now, for the first time in his life, the 65-year-old does not know how he is going to survive the months ahead.

Decades of climate change and years of increasing violence by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) armed group as well as local defence forces – a combination of community volunteers armed by

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