Friends of Burkina Faso (FBF)

The mission of FBF is to promote good will, cross-cultural understanding and friendship between the people of the United States and Burkina Faso; to support grass-roots development projects in Burkina Faso; and to enrich lives of the citizens in both countries. Its Projects Committee serves as a vehicle to facilitate the organization's support of development activities. The Committee evaluates proposals, selects projects, monitors activities, and informs members about project developments.
Sep 26, 2014

Our Leadership Is Needed, So We Are Ready

3 Sisene Brothers Ready to Help Add a Spillway
3 Sisene Brothers Ready to Help Add a Spillway

GLOBALGIVING SEPTEMBER 2014:  RAINWATER CATCHMENTS

“Our Leadership Is Needed, So We Are Ready”   - By Kathleen McDonald – Project Helper

“With guidance from our own Solange, we women organized, talked, decided, and built a new rainwater catchment basin here in Sisene.” says Margarite, mother of a boy and a girl, and herself 34 years old. “That was in 2008 and we have had water each day since. The water saved our village and keeps us working. Both my children attend school. Most of our men returned from other countries because they can now work here. Our neighbors from other villages are asking us to help them have new rainwater basins. We have done well and our leadership is needed, so we are ready to help others do the same.”   The demand remains high from many villages in Burkina Faso to have water throughout the year. 

The village rainwater catchment basin in Sisene demonstrates an effective way to create a sustainable community, curb out-migration, promote girls’ education by removing the burden of searching for water, and empower farmers' productive ability.  To meet the demand, Give Water Give Life (GWGL) is designing a prototype Village Rainwater Catchment Basin that can be replicated throughout the country.

Give Water Give Life Team Members

Developing a prototype rainwater catchment basin requires local non-governmental organizations, communities, village leaders, engineers, graduate students, private manufacturers, farmers, agriculture experts from government, and other professionals.  The participation of the villagers in the creation of the rainwater catchment basin is a very important component to its success and long life. To improve sustainability, the prototype must include: emergency spillway, satellite imagery, and other technologies to determine suitable topography, locations, and porosity; and solar/wind powered micro irrigation and water filtration systems. Residents of the village of Sisene offer their input based on their direct experience. Our GWGL program director is a PhD in water and agricultural engineering, a citizen of Burkina Faso, and is directing the GWGL program and the prototype design.  Team members are determining roles and timelines.  A general meeting in October will solidify both.   

Adding A Spillway

The rainwater catchment basin built in Sisene faltered at one end due to strong storms in 2012.  After the fact, we learned that this basin should have had an emergency spillway, known as a weir, in order to control water flow properly.  Sisene residents tried to repair the basin in 2013, but it has been insufficient.  Give Water Give Life is now hiring an engineer to design the necessary weir.  The rainy season will end October 2014 and a contractor will be hired to construct, with labor provided by residents of Sisene, the engineered weir. Adding a spillway to the existing Sisene rainwater catchment basin will be completed before the next rainy season begins in June 2015.

Public Private Partnership

Private design and manufacturing companies in the United States are working with GWGL to create solar powered water filtration and solar powered water irrigation systems to be included when future village rainwater catchment basins are constructed. We envision that the existing Sisene basin and the rainwater “bouli” (pond) in the village of Djoiuga (northern Burkina Faso) will be retrofitted with new irrigation and filtration systems next year. These will serve as ground tests of the solar powered micro irrigation and water filtration technologies. The prototype rainwater catchment basin is being engineered to incorporate the factors needed for efficiency and productivity in the extremely harsh climes of Burkina Faso.

Once the rainwater catchment prototype is completed, the plan is to construct 3 or 4 new RCBs in 2015 and 2016.  On-going analysis and testing will be continuously conducted to assure quality design and installation, and comprehensive understanding, use, and maintenance by residents of each village. We hope that the prototype rainwater catchment basin will then be reproduced throughout Burkina Faso.

Global Giving

In June, GWGL requested assistance from our GlobalGiving donors to improve our project through our refocus on the prototype design, implementation testing, and addition of an emergency spillway to the existing basin. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and fruitful.  We are now using the funds to help pay the costs of the creation of the prototype and the addition of a weir to the existing basin in the village of Sisene. 

Look for new updated information on our GlobalGiving page that will delineate how money is used, and whether it is for the design of the prototype, the addition of the weir to the existing Sisene rainwater catchment basin, and/or the retrofitting of the water basins in the villages of Sisene and Djoiuga. 

Again, we want to thank you Global Giving donors!  Your support is wonderful.  Any additional suggestions for improving our communication with you and other potential supporters and any comments about our work are truly encouraged.  “Zod noogo!”, which is a Moore expression (one of the main languages of Burkina Faso), that translates to “the productive fruits of friendship”.

Farmers Discussing Strategy for New Weir in Sisene
Farmers Discussing Strategy for New Weir in Sisene
GWGL Team Listening to Villagers Wanting RCBasin
GWGL Team Listening to Villagers Wanting RCBasin
Partner Engineers Deciding on Prototype Design
Partner Engineers Deciding on Prototype Design
Irrigation System NeededTo Replace Bucket Carrying
Irrigation System NeededTo Replace Bucket Carrying
Sep 25, 2014

14 GlobalGiving Scholarships This School Year

Thanks to your very generous support over the past year,14 young village women in northern Burkina Faso are receiving scholarships this academic year for training as primary school teachers.  This is more than twice the number of scholarships we were able to offer last year in partnership with GlobalGiving donors! 

What does this mean for the individual scholarship recipients and for primary education in Burkina Faso?  For the young women who receive the scholarships, it is an opportunity they would otherwise never have had to receive professional training qualifying them to become primary school teachers.  For rural communities in particular in Burkina Faso, it enables the government to assign teachers to villages that have built simple classrooms out of local materials in hopes of giving at least some of their children the chance to go to school.   Every additional trained teacher allows for extending primary education to additional villages.  And most of our scholarship recipients are assigned to such village primary schools upon completion of their training. 

In a recent address to the U.N. on gender issues, Emma Watson (of Harry Potter film fame) stated that, at current rates, it will take until 2086 for all rural African women to achieve a secondary education.  We are proud to be part of a very successful program aimed at accelerating educational opportunities for girls and young women in Burkina Faso.

Photos of, and information about, the young women receiving this year's GlobalGiving/Friends of Burkina Faso scholarships will be forthcoming soon.  Association NEEED (who runs the program in northern Burkina Faso) is currently making the final selection of candidates and organizing the logistics of getting scholarship recipients enrolled and settled into their respective training programs.  We will post photos and information about the young women that you, our GG partners, have so generously supported as soon as they become available.

We are very proud of the outstanding progress of this project over the past five years and what it has meant to young women in Burkina Faso who have benefitted from our scholarships.  Beginning in 2010 when Friends of Burkina Faso offered 13 scholarships (the total for the program that year), our continued generous support of girls’ postsecondary education in Burkina has been a major driving force in helping the project to attract additional donors worldwide to support the education of more village girls each year.  In addition to the 14 girls receiving GlobalGiving/Friends of Burkina Faso scholarships this year, Friends of Burkina Faso is supporting scholarships for six additional young women to receive primary school teacher training, six young women to pursue university studies, and three young women to pursue midwifery training.  Of the 54 students to whom we have provided scholarships to date, 28 have completed their training and are working (as primary school teachers, nurses and midwives), 22 are entering their next year of training and four are awaiting results of year-end exams. 

We are most appreciative of the generous donations of our GlobalGiving partners since we teamed up with GlobalGiving in 2013 in support of this project.  We welcome your continued support.

Thank you!

Jun 30, 2014

If the Women Benefit, We All Benefit

Villagers Building Rainwater Catchment Basin
Villagers Building Rainwater Catchment Basin

GLOBAL GIVING REPORT JUNE 2014:  RAINWATER CATCHMENTS

“If the Women Benefit, We All Benefit”   

As Yameogo Brahima said earlier this year in the village of Ramongokamsi: “We all know the water basin will help us, particularly the women, and if the women benefit, everyone benefits.”  The demand is very high from many villages in Burkina Faso to have water throughout the year.  Rainwater catchment basins can demonstrate the most effective way to create a more sustainable community, curb out-migration, promote girls’ education by removing the burden of searching for water, and then empower farming’s productive ability.  To meet the demand, Give Water Give Life (GWGL) is producing a prototype Rainwater Catchment Basin (RCB) that can be replicated throughout the country.

Water Throughout The Year for Rural Villlages

Based on our most recent research, village visits, data and partnership activities, Give Water Give Life broadened our scope and increased our budget.  Developing a prototype RCB requires local non-governmental organizations, communities, village leaders, engineers, graduate students, private manufacturers, managers and transportation.  Our updated program includes all these and their related costs.

A well designed village rainwater catchment basin collects runoff water in a suited emplacement and topography; stores it; and makes water available year round for agriculture, economic development, and improving rural health. A rainwater catchment basin was envisioned, developed and built by residents in the village of Sisene, in central west Burkina Faso, in 2008. Success is realized by the 2,000 residents using the 6,000 cubic meters of water from their new basin – available to them every day since the initial rainfall in 2008.  With the basin water, the aquifer was restored, the water table raised, six formerly dry wells now have water, and families are healthier and able to send their children to school.

Building on this success, Give Water Give Life is developing a prototype RCB.  The participation of the villagers in the creation of the RCB is the most important ingredient to its success and long life. To improve sustainability, the prototype is being upgraded with: emergency spillway; satellite imagery processing technologies to determine suitable topography and locations; and solar/wind powered micro irrigation and water filtration systems.

“With Water Year Round, Our Daughters Can Go To School”

Give Water Give Life is raising funds for research, prototype development, installation, testing, and operations. Private, for-profit companies are working with GWGL to develop solar/wind powered water irrigation and water filtration systems to be used in Burkina Faso.  Two villages will also be used to test these products.  The existing Sisene RCB and the rainwater pond in Djoiuga (northern Burkina Faso) will be retrofitted with the new irrigation and filtration systems over the next 12 months. These will serve as ground tests of the micro irrigation and water filtration technologies. The prototype rainwater catchment basin is being engineered to incorporate the best factors needed for efficiency and productivity in the extremely harsh climes of Burkina Faso.

Once the prototype rainwater catchment infrastructure is completed, 3 or 4 new RCBs will be constructed in 2015 and 2016.  Analysis and testing will be continuously conducted to assure quality design and installation, comprehensive understanding, use, and maintenance by residents of each village. Subsequently, the new technologies will be incorporated into the prototype RCB to then be reproduced throughout Burkina Faso.

Give Water Give Life has also committed to repairing the existing Sisene RCB before the next rainy season begins in June 2015.

GlobalGiving

Last October, Give Water Give Life began fundraising with GlobalGiving.  We sought donations to build a new RCB in a second village.  Many contributions have been received through Global Giving and GWGL is continuously and truly grateful for each one.  We are requesting assistance from our donors to improve our project through our refocus on the prototype design, implementation testing, and repair of the existing basin.

At this time, the amount of money needed to build a new rainwater catchment basin is close to $100,000.  But before building another new rainwater catchment basin, we need to spend more time and money to produce the prototype. By fine-tuning the design of the prototype, we could have a less expensive RCB and also one that is more easily sustainable.  The original RCB built in Sisene has faltered at its one end and is losing precious water.  After the fact, we learned that the RCB should have had an emergency spillway in order to better control water flow after heavy rainfall.

Therefore, now each new RCB will have an emergency spillway.  Other items being incorporated into the design of the prototype include: solar/wind powered water filtration & water irrigation systems; proper porous basin linings; and use of satellite imagery, GPS, and field survey data to exactly determine RCB locations. 

We would like to use the funds to help pay the costs of the creation of the prototype and the reparation of the existing basin in the village of Sisene.  If acceptable, we will place a new list of items on our Global Giving page that will delineate how money is used, and whether it is for the design of the prototype, the repair of the existing Sisene RCB, and/or the retrofitting of the water basins in the villages of Sisene and Djoiuga.  As we proceed, we will update the amounts needed for each and all of the tasks.

Thank you Global Giving donors!  Your support is very much needed and appreciated!  Please let us know if you have any additional suggestions for improving our communication with you and other potential supporters.  Your comments about our work are also always welcome.  Thank you again.

Because of the water, I am going to school - Satsi
Because of the water, I am going to school - Satsi
Thank You and Welcome to Our Home! Ramde Famiily
Thank You and Welcome to Our Home! Ramde Famiily
Happy Father and Son in Djoiuga
Happy Father and Son in Djoiuga
Julien at Edge of Sisene RCB Needing Repairs
Julien at Edge of Sisene RCB Needing Repairs
We Had Fun At School!  Merci mille fois!
We Had Fun At School! Merci mille fois!

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