BARKA Foundation

The BARKA Foundation's mission is to serve as a catalyst for achieving the MDGs in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Our methodology is community-led, grassroots and combines indigenous and modern technologies to develop a set of best practices in areas of clean water accessibility, sanitation, irrigation, sustainable agriculture, women's empowerment, education, healthcare, and renewable energy. BARKA's work is ultimately about co-creating a culture of peace.
Feb 2, 2011

February Fundraising SLAM: $28,000 in 28 Days

Dear Project Donors and Stakeholders,
We have some exciting news to share with you.
Firstly, we have adjusted the project fundraising goal on Global Giving to reflect the acquisition of over $14,000 raised during the NYC Marathon (as discussed in our most recent project report).
We have just over $28,000 to raise to complete project funding. And there is a growing sense of urgency in which to do it.  People in the village are dying.  Their need is urgent.  In addition, the rains are right around the corner.  It's important we return to Burkina to drill the well before the onset of the rainy season in May.  Therefore we're setting a goal to raise the necessary funding THIS MONTH in order to return to Burkina Faso in March.
$28,000 in the month of February... That's $1000/day to raise on behalf of a nation in which 64% of the population lives on less than $1/day.  We're calling it a Fundraising SLAM.  Today we begin implementing a grassroots fundraising effort the likes of which we've never seen.  We are reaching out to friends, family, prospective NGO partners, and donor organizations, while alerting the major print, radio, TV and online news media, and making unprecedented use of our social networks on facebook, twitter, Global Giving, Network for Good and LinkedIn.  We're writing not only to update you... we also need your help to make this happen.
Let us remind you of our GOALS during the 4-moth project:
  • Establish a self-determined local water & sanitation committee
  • Drill 1 new well
  • Fix 1 well
  • Construct gender-specific composting toilets
  • Begin hygiene education at the local school
  • Create demand for sanitation through social networking
You are receiving this project update because you have made a financial contribution to The BARKA Foundation.  You are part of BARKA's inner circle of supporters.  We need to turn to you once again for your help. 
If it is possible to make a donation at this time, we ask you to give as generously as you can.  You can simply click on the Global Giving Project Page as you have before.
Global Giving also has a really great feature that allows you to host your own fundraiser.  All we need is 28 people to each commit to raising $1000.  This is especially powerful because it introduces us to new people and inspires others who don't yet know about BARKA Foundation.  To learn more about hosting your own fundraiser, click here. We'll help guide you through the process and support you every way we can-- we'll even offer special gifts such as a DVD of BARKA! BURKINA, a BARKA t-shirt, or even some of Ina's handmade jewelry (soon to be available on BARKA's website) to your highest donors and to you.
There are other ways to greatly support the cause without spending a dime (and barely lifting a finger!).  Help us amplify our message on facebook by posting to your friends, or "Re-Tweet" our SLAM campaigns messages to your followers. 
And of course, we ask you to please keep us, and the people of Le Petit Village, in your prayers and good thoughts.

'Barka' is an African word of gratitude, blessing & reciprocity.  The best way we know how to say thank to you for your care, concern, generosity and willingness to join us on this journey, is to say barka.

With love & gratitude,
ina & esu
Jan 19, 2011

Winter 2011 Update


Greetings Dear Supporters and Stakeholders of The BARKA Foundation,

Things are moving forward quickly.  We finished 2010 with a great deal of positive momentum, having signed MOUs (partnerships agreements) with Project WET Foundation and H2O For Life.  Project WET focuses on hygiene education and will be helping BARKA to specifically tailor hygiene education materials to the language, culture and region of the Gour'mache people, the beneficiaries of this project.  H2O For Life will be pairing schools in the US to help raise funds for certain aspects of this project, such as the drilling of the well, the fixing of a well, and so on.  The really exciting part is that we're in discussion with both organizations about extending hygiene education to all 58 schools of the Gourma Province in Burkina Faso (this is the province where Tantiaka, or La Petite, is located).  Then each of those schools will be paired with 58 schools in the US.  In BARKA's next trip to Burkina we'll be exploring details and laying groundwork for this to happen.

In other exciting news, as readers of our newsletter already know, "Team BARKA" raised over $20,000 in the NYC Marathon, $14,000 of which will be added to the funds you've already contributed for this project.  Team BARKA consisted of 3 Canadian marathoners, all from Quebec.  This has opened the door for opportunities to engage with new communities, particularly Quebec City and Montreal.

In US-based community news, we recently spoke with the Rotary Club in Bridgton, Maine which expressed a deep desire to work with BARKA on this project.  Our outreach to Rotaries, schools, faith-based and civic organizations, youth and women's groups is ongoing... if you know of anyone who might be interested in getting involved, please let us know!  Feel free to call us directly at 413-446-7466 or email us at

December's campaign to increase the number of monthly online donors was a success as that number increased 150%.  Please let us know if you'd like to become a monthly donor to The BARKA Foundation. Thank you all for your continued support.

Lastly, we ask you all to keep us in your prayers and positive thoughts as a proposal is going out this week to a major donor organization which may help us return to Burkina as early as February or March for a period of 3-4 months to implement this project that you're all a part of... when we go, we'll be taking you with us every step of the way through project reports, blog entries, photo and video uploads, tweets and more. 

With love & light,

ina & esu


Oct 29, 2010

Fall Status Report

Greetings Project donors, supporters and stakeholders,

We feel blessed to have so much support around us.  In recent months BARKA Foundation has attracted several pro bono advisors in the field of sustainable development who are helping us in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising and project development.  The results can be found in the attached document: WASH + Irrigation + Reforestation.  The document designer, Jennifer Cain, also donated her services and did a stellar job.  The Project Summary extends the project posted here on Global Giving to include irrigation and reforestation, two components which will enable villagers to generate income.  Without this type of financial mechanism within a village, breaking the poverty cycle is not possible.  BARKA Foundation will be using this document to apply for grants and major gifts for both project and organizational funds.  Please check it out to get the full picture of our work, methodology and vision for a village micro-model to create sustainable empowerment and autonomy.

A brief recap of other activities includes the following:

  • 3 Canadians from Quebec have already raised over $16,000 for BARKA by running the NYC Marathon which will take place on November 7.  Check out our website for updates and to follow the runners during the race. They'll be wearing BARKA t-shirts and draped in the Burkina Faso flag! See link to online press release below.
  • BARKA's co-founders, Ina & Esu, are putting the finishing touches on an Echoing Green Fellowship Application. Although extremely competitive, 2/3 of past winners have achieved sustainability for their organizations. 
  • BARKA is continuing to deepen its relations with schools in NY, MA and ME- Ina & Esu are scheduled to speak at an assembly at John Bapst Memorial High School in December, and later this month will be re-connecting with schools in Berkshire County to continue integrating BARKA's sustainable development work into service-learning curricula.  Conversations have begun with Calhoun School in NYC and BARKA is discussing a student exchange program for seniors at Marblehead High School for Spring 2011.
  • Stay tuned for e-commerce from BARKA's website- DVDs, t-shirts, gift cards, and Ina's one-of-a-kind knitwear and jewelry... in time for the holiday season.  Special thanks to volunteer webmaster (mistress) Ali Thomson and Ed Dowd working hard for BARKA in Europe.
  • Thanks to a team of volunteer video editors found through, BARKA has begun logging and editing 80 hours of previously unseen footage from the 6 months spent in Burkina during 2009. A new documentary film is underway and will be submitted to FESPACO, Africa's largest film festival.
  • Lastly, BARKA's relationships with Rotary Clubs continue to expand.  Earlier this month Ina & Esu gave a presentation to the Marblehead Harbor Rotary Club which is currently considering a sponsoring role for BARKA's WASH+ Pilot as part of Rotary Foundation's Future Vision Plan.

Thank you all so much for your continued support on all levels.  At this point we've secured funds for a trip to Burkina in December during which BARKA will conduct final research, planning and confirm in-country partnerships before project implementation.  As always, we'll keep you posted.  Barka!


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