Dear Friend of BARKA,
We hope this email finds you safe, healthy and following precautions to shelter in place and limit social interactions in order to reduce exposure to COVID-19. In the light of the global Coronavirus pandemic, it has never been clearer how fragile life is, how interconnected we all are to one another, and how collaboratively we must work
to overcome the grand challenges we face. It is our sincere hope that we emerge from this crisis with increased awareness and resolve to ensure that everyone has clean water, food, shelter and healthcare.
CORONAVIRUS IMPACT IN BURKINA FASO: Burkina has now confirmed 114 cases of Coronavirus; 4 Ministers and the Ambassdaor of the United States, who has been very supportive of BARKA's work, have been infected, and there have been 5 confirmed deaths. There are more cases of COVID-19 and more deaths in Burkina Faso than anywhere else in West Africa. The Burkina government has prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people, bars, restaurants and markets have been closed in Ouagadougou, a nationwide curfew from 7pm to 5am began on March 21st, all schools are closed until April, the two national airports have closed and land and railway traffic has been suspended.
We are particularly concerned about the virus' effect in Burkina because its national health infrastructure is so ill-equipped and vulnerable. In addition, Burkina was experiencing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis before this due to insecurity which could disrupt humanitarian aid flow. To make matters worse, nearly half the country lacks access to clean water, making the Coronavirus an even bigger threat. Combine this with poor hygiene, handwashing without soap, and low awareness of the vectors of disease in rural areas, and the result could be catastrophic.
For further details about the situation in Burkina which BARKA is monitoring daily, please visit our webpage devoted to our response to COVID-19 in Burkina Faso.
BARKA'S RESPONSE: During a Board Meeting on March 21st, BARKA’s Board of Directors determined to immediately focus its efforts to sensitize the population of our village partners and internally displaced people currently taking shelter in Fada N’Gourma on the critical importance of frequent handwashing at this time.
In the process, BARKA will support several local women’s organizations in the Fada area by purchasing locally produced soap made with shea butter. As markets, sales and revenue have dried up for local sellers, this will provide a much-needed income generating activity for dozens of women in several women-run associations.
BARKA's staff is all healthy and taking necessary precautions such as limiting travel, avoiding large meetings, and focusing its work in the Fada commune, which has no confirmed cases as of yet.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: We realize that everyone has been hit hard economically by this sudden life-changing situation that we all face. We'd like to emphasize that as difficult as things may seem to us in developed countries, the situation is far more grave in Burkina. If you're looking for ways to help those less fortunate and more vulnerable, making a donation to assist BARKA's in utilizing its WASH expertise to reduce Coronavirus transmission in the bush of Africa offers a great opportunity to participate.
Thank you for your generosity of spirit, your big heart and your prayers. May we all come through this crisis together with greater strength, resliience, wisdom and love in our hearts. Barka.
Dear BARKA Supporter,
Despite a worsening security situation in Burkina Faso, thanks to BARKA’s terrific team on the ground, 2019 was among our most successful years ever. We made significant progress in the region of Fada N’Gourma in the areas of water resource management and menstrual hygiene management for over 10,000 people.
The US Ambassador says it best:
“To have the opportunity to work with the BARKA Foundation and to see the work that BARKA Foundation is doing in this area of water plays such a role in the daily lives of the community, was an inspiration to me. I wanted to be part of this mobilization of energy, and effort, and communities, all around best practices to manage the water resources that we have, because together managing those resources will make a better future for the communities we’re working with.”
Ambassador Andrew Young of the US Embassy in Burkina Faso
BARKA has also set the stage for even bigger impact in 2020. We are working with Rotarians in the US and Burkina to develop a new water and hygiene project to drill 20 wells in areas of greatest need.
We have also taken great strides in the development of a large scale Girls and Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights project in which BARKA is poised to introduce menstrual cups for the first time in Burkina’s history.
As excited as we are about this year’s accomplishments and our expectations for the year ahead, we are fully aware that our success would not be possible without the generous support of donors like you. Since BARKA’s inception, we have been powered in a grassroots manner from individuals who care about what we’re doing and want to be a part of it. There is something extraordinary happening here that’s more than the outstanding work on the ground… it’s also about the family of people BARKA brings together who are committed to making the world a better place, and who are doing just that. Thank you for being an important part of this. Barka.
We’d like to close with another inspiring quote from the US Ambassador to Burkina Faso (full video interview now available on BARKA’s website and facebook page):
“One of the things I like about BARKA is the fact that the BARKA Foundation has been in the region for a long, long time. BARKA has sunk deep roots in the community and through those deep roots you can adjust interventions with community members in ways that those community members can deeply and effectively absorb. That is a cutting edge grassroots interaction that has really positive impacts on trying to achieve the outcomes we’ve collectively set for ourselves… What a wonderful way to spend this limited amount of time we have on this planet but to reach out and form a bond with people who are striving to improve the quality of life for those who don’t have the benefits and don’t have the resources that so many of us take for granted.”
Ambassador Andrew Young of the US Embassy in Burkina Faso
We wish you blessings for a safe, healthy and happy 2020 and look forward to continuing our progress together to benefit the people of Burkina Faso who need our help now more than ever before.
Ina & Esu
Dear Friend of BARKA Foundation,
Today is Giving Tuesday, and we'd like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to you for your support of BARKA's Clean Water project.
Right now, we are working hard to raise funds for our biggest water project ever-- 20 wells in areas of greatest need in the Eastern Region. Over the past year, this part of Burkina has been severely affected by an influx of internally displaced persons who are leaving their rural villages and settling in the city of Fada N'Gourma, where BARKA's work is based. Consequently, there is an unprecedented strain on the city's water resources. This new project will help to alleviate this crisis by creating 20 new water sources for the community, needed now more than ever. We estimate this project to benefit more than 20,000 people. Here's how the Global Giving Donor Family can help:
Today on Giving Tuesday (starting at midnight), Global Giving will be giving away $500,000 to the projects which receive the most donations, and Bonus Prizes to the projects which receive more than 20 donations today.
If you'd like to continue your support as we raise funds for this next project, today would be a great day to make a donation! Our goal is to receive 20 donations to be eligible for a Bonus Prize! Please help us reach our goal.
Thank you for your support on all levels. We wish you a Happy Holiday season and blessings for the new year.
Dear BARKA Supporters and Water Activists,
BARKA Foundation is currently developing a new project to drill 20 wells in the eastern region, one of the driest and poorest parts of Burkina Faso. We have partnered with local rotary clubs in Massachusetts and Washington (Marblehead, Swampscott and Sedro-Wolley) and are currently reaching out to rotary clubs in Burkina Faso to secure the local partner on the ground.
We are very excited about this new project as it addresses a dire need. In recent months, Burkina Faso has experienced a great deal of terrorist activity in its rural areas. This has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as more than 200,000 people (internally displaced persons, i.e., refugees) have been forced to flee their homes. Many people in the East are fleeing to Fada, the capital of the eastern region, where the city's water supply was inadequate to meet the needs of the people before this crisis. It is not at all equipped to deal with the unprecedented demand that currently exists. The situation is urgent and dire.
Therefore, BARKA is undertaking its largest project ever, to drill wells and improve hygiene education for 20,000 people through drilling wells in 20 communities. We are beginning to reach out now for partners and stakeholders in this endeavor. If you wish to support BARKA's clean water efforts in the East to help mitigate this crisis, please join us now.
Last month, BARKA's professional Theatre Troupe revived its original production "Water for the Present and for the Future" for a ten-performance tour throughout communities in Fada N'Gourma.
The play focuses on hygiene education, the need to collect small micro-payments from water users for sustainable water resource management, and the importance of the role of women with regard to water resources for the community.
In this project, we focused on building the capacity of local water committees who are the stewards and caretakers of the local water points. This play sensitized communities on the issue of the need for water users to pay small sums of money so the committee will have funds to repair the pump when it eventually fails. Before and after each performance the local water committee was able to address the crowd and discuss and issues or problems they're experiencing.
The project was made possible through a grant by the US Embassy of Burkina Faso which was announced last year during the Gala Dinner of The Water Fair. Together with a gift from the First Lady of Burkina Faso, the US Embassy grant inaugurated the International Water Fund which is focused on water, sanitation & hygiene education in the eastern region of Burkina Faso.
The tour was a great success. Crowds were large and very receptive. After each show, the troupe led the audience in a discussion of the issues raised by the play and these post-performance debates were lively. The play was performed in front of 4500 people with an average audience size of 450.
Burkina Faso is one of the most illiterate countries in the world. In such an environment, theatre is a creative and cost-effective way to convey complex concepts in ways that can be understood and remembered leading to behavioral change. The filmed performance of "Water for the Present and for the Future" will soon begin screening on Burkina's national bus lines to continue to expand the impact of its important social messages.
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