BARKA Foundation

The BARKA Foundation's mission is to serve as a catalyst for achieving the SDGs 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.
Jul 22, 2016

Rains Come to Burkina

Ina and Bempoua in an embrace of reciprocity.
Ina and Bempoua in an embrace of reciprocity.

Special Announcement:

Global Giving is currently having its 2016 Photo Competition and one of BARKA's photos (above) was selected as a finalist.

PLEASE CAST YOUR VOTE NOW to help BARKA Foundation win the $1000 prize, plus receive homepage and social media promotion on Global Giving's networks.

Votes can be cast from right now through noon on Friday, July 22.

Please also share the link on your social networks to spread the word.  Barka!

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Dear Friend,

Burkina Faso is one of the driest nations on earth.  Yet during the rainy season, from June through September, the rains come.  Everyone depends on this because 90% of Burkinabe grow their own food to survive, and if the rains don't arrive, crops can fail and lives hang in the balance.  Last year, we witnessed early rains followed by a short drought- very unusual during the rainy season.  When the rains finally did fall, they fell too hard, drowning and washing away seeds that had been sowed. The corn crop failed in the eastern region as a result.

It's easy to see how vulnerable the rural population of Burkina Faso is when you ponder such a situation, and how much of an effect climate change is having on life there.  For us in the West, climate change may bring a warmer (or harsher) winter, or a cooler (or hotter) summer, however in Burkina, the weather can make the difference of your children's survival.

For this reason, BARKA is now hard at work developing projects that enable greater resilience for this population which is so vulnerable to external shocks.  In fact, in the village of Tantiaka, which you have all direcly supported by donating to this project, villagers created a garden next to the well we drilled (that we includes you).  The well remains properly maintained by the water committee and is in excellent working condition.   Thanks to this simple and beautiful garden, every family has a small plot which they can irrigate throughout the year and grow food, even during the long dry season when it is normally impossible to do so.

This is something that was made possible through your financial support.  We wanted to take a moment to reflect that back to you and every donor of this project.  Villagers always tell us to thank and bless the people who have supported them from afar. On behalf of them all, we are extending to you their gratitude and good wishes. Barka!

In the coming year, BARKA Foundation will explore ways to support the village in this small-scale agricultural project. With your continued support we will be able to purchase some basic tools, watering cans, and even provide training for improved growing techniques and methods to mitigate the deadly effects of climate change.

Thank you for being on this magical journey with us.  One single moment of this 'magic' we refer to was captured in a photo-- the photo that Global Giving chose as a finalist. It is an embrace of mutual respect, love and joy-- the essence of reciprocity-- between BARKA co-founder Ina Anahata and Bempoua Namoano, one of the key figures in the village of Tantiaka, also a member of the water & sanitation committee which you helped to make possible. Thank you for casting your vote for this photo to further support this project and the villagers of Tantiaka.

'Barka' is an African word of gratitude, blessing & reciprocity.

Barka,

Ina & Esu

Apr 20, 2016

Monitoring and Evaluation

The well we drilled together serving the village
The well we drilled together serving the village

Dear BARKA Family,

It is the hottest time of year here in Burkina Faso.  Temperatures during the day are consistently over 110F, and the heat is compounded by frequent power outages and water shortages here in the town of Fada N'Gourma where BARKA's office is located.  Last week we went for 5 days without water!  Luckily, BARKA has a 1000-liter water tank at its office and we were able to use that for all our water needs.  Just as it ran out, the water returned!  It really brought home the daily reality faced by millions of rural villagers throughout Burkina Faso who have no running water and must often walk miles to the nearest water source and carry all of their water back to their homes-- every single day.

Since the beginning of 2016, BARKA has spent time monitoring and evaluating the work we accomplished, with your support, last year.  It was incredibly gratifying to hear villagers describe what a positive change clean drinking water has made in their lives. There was much discussion about the decreased incidence of sicknesses, particularly diarrhea and stomach aches.  The women also said their lives had changed dramatically because as you know, they're the ones who have to fetch the water for the family, often carrying containers of 5 gallons (40 pounds) on top of their heads.  One man got up and said if we had held this meeting before the well was drilled, no women would be present because they would all be asleep after searching for water all night.  Now their tireless search was over and they had more time in the day to be with their family, take care of their children, and engage in more productive activities. 

It's hard to describe the gratitude all the villagers expressed to BARKA, and the BARKA family of donors--people like you who have donated to help their situation even though you may have never traveled to Burkina Faso or met the beneficiaries of the project. We want to convey their immense gratitude to you, and tell you that they asked us to send you their blessings.

We certainly feel blessed ourselves to be able to do this work, and to have such a committed and passionate group of supporters and donors here at GlobalGiving.  Your financial support is what helps to make this work possible. Our work here is far from finished.  We are now developing new projects with the same 9 villages we have been working with, taking things to a deeper level and even venturing into new domains such as education and sustainable agriculture. 

Please consider a donation today to help bring these new dreams to fruition.  Barka!   

Villagers meet with BARKA under the tree
Villagers meet with BARKA under the tree
Two BARKA staffers interview a villager
Two BARKA staffers interview a villager
A woman looks on at our meeting to gauge impact
A woman looks on at our meeting to gauge impact
No gift like the gift of clean drinking water
No gift like the gift of clean drinking water
BARKA went to villagers
BARKA went to villagers' homes to gauge impact
Dec 29, 2015

Year End Update from BARKA Foundation

Students pose for photo in front of new latrines
Students pose for photo in front of new latrines

December 2015

Dear BARKA Friend and Supporter,

Our 84-year old advisor Bill is always telling us what we’re doing is extraordinary and asking us to bring more people around the table. We want you to know that you occupy a seat at BARKA’s table. You are here because you are part of The BARKA Foundation’s innermost circle of friends. 2015 has been a landmark year for BARKA and we could not have done it without you.

Here are some highlights:

  • Completion of the largest projects we’ve implemented to date, with a combined project budget of $250,000, including working in 5 villages on three different projects simultaneously. These included: Drilling 4 wells in 4 rural villages, constructing latrines for boys, girls and, teachers in 4 primary schools, and sensitizing 14 villages in basic hygiene practices
  • The Impact of BARKA’s water, sanitation and hygiene education projects in rural villages reached over 20,000 direct beneficiaries, and over 50,000 indirect beneficiaries
  • The year's work also included capacity building for 4 villages to be able to maintain and sustain the wells, latrines and hygiene education. Over the course of months of meetings with villagers, BARKA provided technical training to village primary school teachers, water point committees, hygienists (village change agents), and mechanics to maintain the wells for sustainability
  • BARKA launched a “Social Art” initiative designed to reinforce hygiene education through theatre sensitizement which proved highly effective
  • We formed a 10-person professional theatre troupe which received training from the most renowned performing art center in Burkina Faso; the creative team, of which we were an integral part, created the play which contained social messages about hygiene, the need for good governance, and the importance of the role of women in water resource management
  • The play was performed 32 times in 45 days at the hottest time of the year—often above 120F!
  • This was one of the most rewarding endeavors BARKA has done to date and we intend to integrate this kind of “sensibilization theatrale” in all our future work
  • For the first time in its history, BARKA established an office in Fada, ramped up from 4 to 24 employees at peak implementation, purchased a used 4x4 vehicle, and secured professional sound and light equipment and a platform stage for social art
  • At the same time, we’ve created efficiencies that allow us to run the entire BARKA operation on the ground for under $5000/month that includes a staff of 9 + 2 interns
  • BARKA had its largest operating budget ever: $150,000, a 40% increase from 2014

With such success comes an increased responsibility to be accountable, transparent and to measure the impact of our work in the field. This requires increased resources to achieve a new level of diligence we feel we must now meet.   We’re also interviewing new people to focus on program development and administration, however we can’t bring them on yet because we don’t have the funding. That’s right, we’ve been so focused on the work on the ground, we haven’t been able to concentrate on raising funds. As you know, we’re the ones doing the work ourselves with the BARKA staff, and our attention this year was needed on management and implementation. However our sole objective now is to share this incredible story and to secure operational funds for the coming year so that we have enough resources to continue growing and to attract talented people on to the team.

On a more personal note, we’d like to share with you a little of what the past year was like for us. In 2015 we will have spent 10 months on the ground in Burkina Faso. The majority of those days were above 100 degrees F. To be frank, this work is not easy. We both got malaria- thrice for Ina and twice for Esu-- and typhoid fever- once for Ina and twice for Esu. We witnessed floods, crop failures, and increased effects of climate change. We were on the ground during a coup d’etat and marched in the streets with the population that rose up and successfully overthrew first a dictator, and later an attempted coup by the old regime’s presidential guard. We bore witness to the revolutionary flame that burns within Burkinabe that is giving rise to true democracy and recently the nation succeeded in its first fair and free election in almost 30 years. We are holding the hands of the people and walking alongside them, listening to the drumbeat of the culture. In the process, BARKA has created a family of committed and dedicated individuals who are deeply committed to doing good work on the ground and making a difference.

We want to remind you that Burkina Faso is one of the most impoverished nations on the planet, that clean water is most often completely unavailable, and that children often go to bed hungry. The hospitals, schools and other services are severely lacking in the most basic amenities. In Fada N’Gourma, the city where we live, electricity and water sometimes shut off for days at a time. And when water again flows from the tap, it’s brown or black. Yet despite the difficult challenges and sacrifices involved in living and working here, we truly feel like the lucky ones. We feel blessed to be able to do this work, to enable BARKA to be a link between the indigenous and modern paradigms, connecting people, raising awareness, and enriching the lives of some of the poorest people in the world.

We have a clear direction for 2016. BARKA is working deeper with the 9 villages with which we’ve already established relationships. With water and sanitation now secured in several communities, we are turning to other critical areas such as:

  • A reforestation project which empowers women through small sustainable businesses
  • A social enterprise to produce water filters to provide safe water and storage in the home
  • A collaboration with UNICEF to assist girls in school with menstrual hygiene management

We need your continued support to fuel and expand this work. Our year-end fundraising campaign is setting an ambitious goal to raise $60,000 which would enable us to cover our operational costs for all of 2016. Won’t you please help us meet or exceed this goal by making as generous a gift as possible to ensure the continued growth and success of BARKA’s work? Donations to BARKA are 100% tax-deductible. Please consider being a part of the extraordinary growth and impact on the ground that awaits us all in 2016. Thank you for your support and for sitting around the table with us.

‘Barka’ is an African word of gratitude, blessing & reciprocity. BARKA!

Four more positive borehole wells drilled in 2015!
Four more positive borehole wells drilled in 2015!
 

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