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.
Jul 14, 2009

A Postcard from Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso

Sheila Leonard is an intern at GlobalGiving. This summer she traveled throughout West Africa and visited a number of GlobalGiving projects. On May 29th she visited "Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso." When asked what she would tell her friends about this project, Sheila said: "Great: They are making a difference."

This project is awesome. Seeing these very poor little girls hold on to their lambs for dear life and try desperately to keep them in line was inspiring. Each school I visited (2) sponsored around 25 girls by Friends of Burkina Faso/NEEED. For my visit, the parents came to school and brought their lambs. Picture 20 bleating lambs tied up around a million school kids running through them - it was quite a sight to see. In a culture where girls barely attend school, husbands have multiple wives, and women start bearing children in their teens, creating a project that designates these girls as worthwhile to themselves and their families brought tears to my eyes. After visiting some of the surrounding villages, it is clear one lamb is a great luxury for these families.

Asking questions directly to the parents and children proved difficult because of their fear of me, and the language of course! The father of one 6 year old girl told me (through two translators - More (the local language) to French to English) "NEEED helps the kids have clothing to wear and good working conditions at the school and a better future. But especially we thank for clothing to wear...We wish that all the girls are supported by NEEED, it is difficult because it is a limited number of children" It is true - NEEED works with school administrators to support the neediest children in the village, not every student. The parents and administrators also begged me for better school buildings. One of the schools only has a thatched roof and no door so wind, dust, and stray animals join the classroom at any moment.

The best part of this project is the responsibility bestowed on the families. Instead of just giving each family school tuition, the family must take care of the lamb and help it grow so they can receive a better price the following year - enough to buy 2 new lambs and start the process over. NEEED is very well-organized and had a good answer for everyone of my probbing development questions. I admire their throughness in making sure girls attend school, and parents are involved in the process. Burkina Faso is a beautiful country with kind friendly people and I am glad to see a project that gives help where it is needed.

Jul 9, 2009

An impressive report card for middle school girls

An impressive 79% of girls attending the College Modern de l’Amitie (the girls’ middle school in northern Burkina Faso) in 2008-2009 passed national exams, qualifying them to continue to the next level. 72% of students in their last year at the College Modern de l’Amitie passed national exams qualifying them to go on to secondary school. This compares with a 39% success rate among students in the general population taking these exams.

Access to a noon meal has played an essential role in the students’ success, along with dedicated teachers and parents and, most importantly, the commitment of students to their learning.

With an anticipated enrollment of 425 students in middle school next year, the cost of the school lunch program will be approximately $35,000 for the school year. Currently, we have $10,860 to support this project. With your help, we hope to raise an additional $17,000 in order to ensure the continuation of this essential element in the students’ success.

On behalf of NEEED and the middle school students and their parents, we thank you for your past and continuing support which is crucial to enabling these girls to succeed in school.

As always, we welcome your comments and questions.

To quote Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General: “There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls”.

Jul 8, 2009

Year-end school results

The primary school girls supported by the Girls’ Education Project have done very well in school again this year. Eighty six percent of the girls in their final year of primary school passed government exams, qualifying them to continue their studies in middle school, compared to 70% of children in the general population passing these exams. Parents of girls supported through this project have been amazingly engaged which, along with NEEED’s encouragement, support and oversight, and of above all the girls’ hard work, has contributed to the girls’ success.

As a reminder, the project supports the first year of a village girl’s schooling and the purchase of a lamb, at a total cost of $90 through GobalGiving. The girl’s parents are responsible for helping her raise and sell her lamb each year thereafter to support all future educational costs for up to 13 years of schooling. This strategy encourages the parents to support their daughters’ educations in a way that they are able to (that is, once they have the initial donation of a lamb); and enables the project to use our modest funds to support a new group of 6 year-olds each year.

Demand for assistance with girls’ education continues to grow in neighboring villages. With your help, we hope to support an additional 300 girls to enter primary school next year.

With the help of donors from Germany, NEEED (the organization running the project in Burkina) has built two public secondary schools in the region in the past two years, and recently received funding to build a third. The addition of three public secondary schools in the region greatly expands the educational system’s capacity to ensure a secondary education to qualified students.

On behalf of NEEED and all the girls and their parents, we thank you for your past and continuing support which is crucial to the enabling these girls to go to school.

To quote Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General: “There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls”.

As always, we welcome your comments and/or questions.

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