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.
Dec 27, 2011

My recent visit to the project - great strides are being made!

First graders in class in the village of Ingare
First graders in class in the village of Ingare

In mid-December, I visited the Lambs Support Village Girls' Education in Burkina Faso, including NEEED who runs the project, village primary schools, teachers, parents and grandparents, girls whose educations we support in their first year of school, and regional education officials.  Parents and grandparents expressed much appreciation and gratitude for NEEED's support (that is also your support!) for their daughters'/grandaughters' educations.  This sentiment was echoed by teachers and government officials as well.

The project is having a huge and positive impact.  As reported earlier, the girls are doing amazingly well in school. When I asked teachers and parents why they thought these girls were doing so much better than their peers on average, they said "Because they have the necessary tools to study.  They have paper, pencils and pens and books; and they have a lamp which enables them to study at night."   Imagine trying to learn without such basic necessities!

Another equally important goal of this Burkinabe-run project is to change the way villagers view the education of girls.  When the project began 12 years ago, many parents gave little priority to sending their daughters to school. In some villages, it was a challenge to get parents to even consider the possibility.  By contrast, during my recent visit it was pointed out to me repeatedly how seriously village parents in villages in which the project has intervened take girls', and all children's, education.  

  • In the schools I visited, both at the primary and middle/secondary levels, there were approximately the same number of girls and boys in the crowded classrooms.
  • In the region, villagers have built approximately 600 primary schools out of mud bricks and straw in recent years.  While these structures are inadequate and are vulnerable to wind, rain and snakes, they enable the village to receive government teachers and therefore to send their children to school.  
  • In the villages I visited, education has become a top priority.  To this end, parents whose daughters have been able to enroll in school through the Lambs Support Village Girls' Education project are finding ways to create a "multiplier effect" for younger siblings, thus creating sustainability for the education of their younger children.   (The Lambs Support Village Girls' Education project only intervenes in any one village one time.)  Some parents have been able to produce a lamb from their daughter's sheep before selling it while others are able to economize and purchase two lambs, plus pay their daughter's school materials for the following year, following the sale of a fattened sheep.  In this way, parents are looking to have the resources to send more of their children to school.
  • In the villages in which this project intervened several years ago, parents of younger girls are seeing the example of what young girls can achieve and more of them are enrolling their daughters in school. 

I share with parents in the project region the optimism that their daughters may one day look forward to a brighter future as a result of their chance to go to school.  And I share with you their appreciation and gratitude for your helping to make their daughters' educations possible.  Each year, the Lambs Support Girls' Education project enables the enrollment of as many girls in village primary schools as funds allow.  This year, the project enrolled girls in 26 primary schools and had to turn down requests for support from an additional 60 villages in the region.   With your generous donations, we hope to respond to at least half of these villages in the coming year.

Our sincere thanks for your past, and continuing, support.

Koeneba primary school built by parents
Koeneba primary school built by parents
Koeneba parents discuss childrens
Koeneba parents discuss childrens' education
Oct 26, 2011

October 2011 News

The school year is off to a positive start at the Lycee Modern de l’Amitie (LMA), with the enrollment of 850 middle school and secondary school students in 17 classrooms, maintaining the standard of a maximum of 50 students per class.   

The majority of village girls who qualify for middle and secondary school in the project region entered primary school with assistance from the Lambs Support Village Girls’ Education in Burkina Faso Project (on the GlobalGiving web site) also run by Association NEEED. This project is the foundation/engine, for village girls’ education in northern Burkina Faso, without which very few village girls even enter school. The initial purchase of a lamb enables the enrollment of 6 year-old girls in village primary schools. Their parents raise and sell their lambs, and buy school materials and new lambs, each year to support their daughters’ education through 13 years of schooling (with the exception of school lunches, the cost of which is beyond parent’s reach).  Your support for the Lambs Support
Village Girls’ Education Project
allows village girls to enter school and ultimately achieve 13 years of education. Their academic performance has been phenomenal, their parents’ support outstanding.  The Lambs Support Village Girls’ Education in Burkina Faso Project needs your donations in order to continue enrolling young girls in school.  Please check it out.

As a testament to the academic achievements of “our” girls, in partnership with two generous partners, Friends of Burkina Faso is sponsoring seven village girls in post secondary training this year: in nursing, midwifery, teacher training and medicine.

At a recent ceremony honoring the support for girls’ education at the primary, middle and secondary, and post-secondary levels in the project region, a representative of the secondary school girls (who initially entered primary school with the support of the Lambs Support Village Girls’ Education Project) proclaimed, “Without the assistance from Association NEEED and its partners (that’s you!), many girls would be destined to domestic work,
field work and to be given in marriage at a young age.  Many girls, women of tomorrow, would have no possibility to contribute to the development of Burkina Faso.”

On behalf of Association NEEED, and especially “our” extraordinary girls, our sincere Thank You.  Your past and continuing support of these girls enables them to enter and progress through school with the purchase of a lamb; and to have an adequate meal each day in middle/secondary school.



 



 



Oct 16, 2011

New Name Reflects Girls' Success


As the new school year begins, your generous support has enabled the enrollment of another 300 young village girls in northern Burkina Faso into government village primary schools.   Beginning in 2003, when the first girls supported
by this project completed primary school, girls supported by this project have consistently outperformed all students in the region on exit exams from primary school by an average of 15 percentage points. 

These girls are enrolling in middle and secondary school in greater numbers each year as well.   We are extremely grateful to two donors who have offered a limited number of scholarships for girls in this project who successfully complete secondary school.   In 2010, donations from these partners provided scholarships to: 9 girls for primary school teacher training, 2 girls for nursing training, 1 girl for midwifery training, and 1 girl who is studying law at the University of Ouagadougou; and in 2011: 3 girls in primary school teacher training, 3 girls in nursing training, 1 girl in midwifery training, and 1 girl who is studying medicine at the University of Ouagadougou.  All of these girls are from poor rural farming families and some have lost one or both parents. 

Given the strong academic success of the village girls we support and the exceptional response of their parents who depend upon our partnership only for their daughters’ first year of school, we are re-naming the project Lambs Support Village Girls’ Education.  This new title reflects more clearly the structure of this project: your donations help purchase a girl’s first year school materials and her first lamb.  Parents raise and sell their lambs, and buy school materials and new lambs, each year to support their daughters’ remaining 12 years of schooling.   

Our original goal of enrolling 900 girls has been surpassed.  However, the demand and the positive response of parents and village leaders has been phenomenal.   In order to continue to offer village girls in this region a chance at an education and all that this implies in terms of choices in their lives, we are asking you – their partners – to continue to give them that opportunity to enter school.  They and their parents will do the rest! 

In that spirit, I would like to call your attention to GlobalGiving’s final Bonus Day of the year this Wednesday October 19.   Online donations made to this project on Wednesday will be matched by 30% up to $1000 per donor.  And if we raise the most funds, or have the most individual donors, the Lambs Support Girls’ Education project will receive an additional $1000. 

On behalf of the exceptional young village girls in northern Burkina Faso, our sincere gratitude to all of you, our partners in this endeavor.

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