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.
Mar 21, 2012

Village Girls' Education Expands

Mande Amade & his daughter Nafisatu Surmande
Mande Amade & his daughter Nafisatu Surmande

Villagers in the Northern Region of Burkina Faso are embracing girls’ education like never before.   We must not allow the momentum of their motivation to ebb.  In all of the villages I visited in December, parents and elders came forth to express their support for the education of their daughters.  They are realizing that the girls who enter school through a modest “hand up” from this project and continued support from parents, outperform their classmates; and that some of these girls will have an opportunity to go on to nursing, midwifery, and primary teaching training or a university education with the support of another Friends of Burkina Faso project.

 In the attached photos from my visit to the project in December, both fathers and grandparents stepped forward to express their pride in their daughters, and granddaughters, as well as their determination to see that these young girls be given an opportunity to earn an education. 

To date, the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project has intervened in 161 villages in the Northern Region of Burkina Faso.   Parents and village leaders in approximately 100 additional villages in the region have requested participation in the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project.  NEEED’s goal is to cover the remaining villages (as always – one time per village) over the next 3-4 years, enabling approximately 2000 young girls to enter primary school and impressing upon parents the importance of using their lambs’ support to educate younger siblings.  With your help, Friends of Burkina Faso will enable 1000 of these girls to enter primary school. 

In order for NEEED to achieve this goal and to concretize in the minds of parents throughout the region the importance of girls’ education, Friends of Burkina Faso needs to expand our support for this project one last time.  By raising our funding goal to $120,000 we will enable NEEED to intervene with: the enrollment of young girls into primary school in the remaining villages in the region, and the demonstration to parents of what their daughters can achieve and how they can help them.

Many thanks for your past and continuing support for the education of “our” girls!

Grandparents insist on education for Alimata
Grandparents insist on education for Alimata
Jan 23, 2012

Middle/secondary school plans expansion

During my visit to Burkina Faso in December, I met with administrators, teachers and students of the middle/secondary school for girls.  I continue to be impressed with the organization, discipline and seriousness with which everyone views this school in terms of the quality of education it offers to its students.  Because of its very positive reputation, there is increasing competition for students to be enrolled there.  With 850 students this year, NEEED hopes to add additional classrooms to accomodate a maximum of 1000 students.  This will necessitate expansion of the cafeteria as well.

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

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