Today marks the 22nd annual World Day of Water and regardless of the strides that have been made to make water accessible to everyone, 783 million people still do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. When the BARKA Foundation was established in 2006, founders Ina and Esu had one goal: to address the dire water crisis for the people of Burkina Faso. Today, in 2015, their hard work and vision has come a long way.
BARKA is currently implementing a holistic water, sanitation & hygiene education project in 5 villages simultanously. In order to do this successfully, BARKA has established a system of "water accounting", a comprehensive and hi-tech methodology using smartphones and GPS to determine the place where a well is most needed within a community. Right now, BARKA is conducting in-depth surveys with each household in each hamlet, gaining valuable information about how the water needs for people, animals, and economic activities compete against each other. This method analyzes how best to deal with these competing factors and to determine how best to meet a community’s holistic water needs. The data BARKA collects is then uploaded to a cloud server where it can be filtered for specific results. Not only has BARKA’s work taken a quantum leap through the use of this tool, but this data and analysis has become accessible to the villagers, other NGOs, and the Burkinabe government, in an environment where accurate and up-to-date information is a rare and precious commodity.
Also in 2015, BARKA established a partnership with One Drop Foundation, an NGO founded by Guy Laliberte, the CEO of Cirque du Soleil. One Drop will enable BARKA to form a troupe of actors which will be trained by Burkina’s top theatre artists, Espace Cultural Gambidi. After five weeks of training and rehearsal, this troupe will take the show on the road and perform 35 times in 9 villages and 18 schools in just two months, teaching families and students about clean water and proper hygiene and sanitation techniques. BARKA will also be able to purchase professional light and sound equipment to strengthen its future social art efforts and coach the people on how they as a community can create change.
All of this work signifies how much BARKA has grown over the years. Its unique methodology creates a positive change in the lives of the Burkinabé while preserving their culture – something much easier said than done. Ina & Esu's patience, gratitude, and admiration of the people have allowed them to grow in a direction that many other organizations cannot. Not to mention that after 10 years of joyfully working side by side, they have chosen to marry in Fada N’Gourma! Their spirit and open-mindedness have given them the capabilities to mobilize and motivate the Burkinabe to work with them to create change – proof that BARKA will continue to grow.
In light of World Water Day, the large achievements BARKA has made and in joyous celebration of the union between the two people who have made all of this happen, I would like to invite you to join me in making a financial contribution in honor of Ina and Esu’s marriage. There is no better way to show our appreciation of their hard work than providing BARKA with the capability to take its projects to the next level. Together, we will be able to positively change the lives of the Burkinabe by providing them with the clean water and necessary knowledge of hygiene to help them increase their standard of living and live long, healthy lives.
US Volunteer Fundraising Coordinator
Right now we are in Burkina with our brothers and sisters and you are here with us.
BARKA has begun implementing the largest and most complex project in our history- providing water, sanitation & hygiene in 5 villages which will benefit 30,000 people. You help make it happen. We can't do it without you. Thank you for all your support. Barka!
To give you an idea of how BARKA's work is changing people's lives for the better, you need look no further than Tantiaka, the very first village where BARKA drilled a well in 2012. When we arrived, the community grew crops individually and only during the short rainy season. Now, thanks to the new community well which nearly 1000 individual donors like you helped to manifest, Tantiaka grows fresh green vegetables all year long! This not only prevents hunger, it also reduces malnutrition which is rampant in rural villages of Burkina Faso, especially in children under age 5. Villagers of Tantiaka were able to do this only after months of working with Kadidiatou "Tanti" Thiombiano, BARKA's field worker who speaks the local language of Gulimanchema, and who motivated the village women to take their own initiative and work together. When we visit Tantiaka as part of BARKA's ongoing monitoring and evaluation plan, the women gather to greet us with song and dance and always ask us to thank and bless the people from far away who cared enough about them to help their situation.
As BARKA stretches and grows, Rotary clubs from 4 continents, USAID, Winrock International, and One Drop Foundation have joined with us for this next project. We are gathered here in BARKA's new office space in Fada and for the first time in our organization's history have hired fulltime staff-- Pauline Ducreux, Peace Sarambe and Yoni Idrissa to help BARKA succeed in achieving the project's goals and objectives. What all this means is that BARKA is on new ground. Thanks to you we are seeing what began as one well in one village become many many wells in several villages with more on the way. In the coming months, our staff will be trained in a wide range of technical areas including more comprehensive monitoring & evaluation and "water accounting", a holistic measure of a community's true water needs for drinking, agriculture and animals.
Our success to this point has been based solely on determination. Persistence pays off! We are now reaping the rewards of years of hard work and laying the groundwork for what lay ahead. It began with support of family and a few friends. Today, our family of supporters is worldwide and people we've met along the way who have been touched by this work have stepped in beside us.
As BARKA grows and takes on more responsibilities, our financial needs grow. With 2014 at an end, let us come together, all of us to ensure continued growth in 2015. The impact we're able to have is directly proportional to the financial support we receive. Since its inception, BARKA's work has been almost entirely supported by donations from individual donors. Please give as generously as you can in order to help the rural population of Burkina, often referred to as "the poorest of the poor", have a chance to thrive like we all deserve. Help us continue to grow our impact with a financial contribution today. Barka!
To make a secure online donation visit the BARKA project page on GlobalGiving
Or to mail a donation, write a check to BARKA Foundation
and mail to: P.O. Box 2, Burlington, ME 04417
With love and gratitude,
Ina, Esu and The BARKA Foundation team
Fada N'Gourma, Burkina Faso
Dear all of you remarkable supporters of BARKA,
Thanks to your dedication and passion for bringing clean water to the people of Burkina Faso, The BARKA Foundation is the strongest it has ever been since its founding. Every day, BARKA has been reaching new milestones. Ina and Esu are currently on the ground in Burkina Faso and asked me to update you on the latest news. My name is Kim Abuelhaj, a BARKA volunteer based in NYC, working on social media and philanthropy development. For 3 years I served a US Peace Corps Volunteer based in Fada N’Gourma—the capitol of the Eastern Region where BARKA’s Burkina HQ is based.
We would first like to thank Rotary International, which has approved a $100,000 grant to deliver clean drinking water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education for the community and schools of five villages in the commune of Fada. Not only is this BARKA’s largest grant to date, but such generosity just proves how we are in this together and that one day, those communities of Burkina Faso will have a better life.
Subsequently, when USAID’s WASH program in West Africa heard news of such a grant, they were inspired to match the $100,000 gift in order to expand BARKA’s impact. Not only will this kind of assistance provide BARKA with essential technical assistance to increase our work’s efficiency and effectiveness, but it also symbolizes the name BARKA has created in Burkina Faso. That would never have been possible without supporters like you!
In other news, Cirque de Soleil has an NGO called One Drop Foundation, which focuses on Water & Sanitation projects. Their work is similar to that of BARKA’s as they too focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, and also use theatre and cultural arts to get their hygiene messages across. One Drop will be working with BARKA to bring our theatrical presentations to new heights.
Last but not least, your support has allowed BARKA to finally hire three full-time staffers in Burkina Faso. This is such big news as BARKA has been entirely all-volunteer since it began in 2006! Find out who they are and what they do below! They will give us the capacity to branch out to new communities and further develop our water and sanitation projects.
And get this—BARKA needs just $421 to go from being a Global Giving “Leader” organization to a “Superstar”, the highest ranking an organization can receive on the GG website. Help us make it happen with a donation today. Again, thank all of you for your generous support. We are so grateful to have you on our side to bring clean water to the people of Burkina Faso. Your steadfast commitment will help us win the fight against dirty water and poor hygiene and sanitation.
Kim, Ina and Esu and the BARKA team
Dear BARKA Supporters,
BARKA has been hard at work these last few months preparing for its most ambitious project to date: to provide water, sanitation and hygiene for 5 villages which will benefit the lives of 30,000 people. Project partners include The Rotary Foundation, USAID, Winrock International, and One Drop Foundation.
This project is a testament to BARKA's increasing maturity as an organization, and its growing reputation within Burkina Faso as an outfit that does things right. Through technical assistance provided by Winrock and USAID, we will be working at an even deeper and more comprehensive level to create sustainable and transformative change for villagers through the provision of water. BARKA staffers are being trained on a technique known as "water accounting" which takes an entire village's water needs into account, plots all village water points through GPS coordinates and analyzes the optimal way to balance out water needs for drinking, for agriculture/livelihood, and for animals.
We're also very excited about working with One Drop. This is the water NGO formed by Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. Like BARKA, One Drop uses theatre and the cultural arts to get across vital messages of basic hygiene and the need for hand washing. One Drop will be training the theatre troupe BARKA already works with, and helping us to reach more people with performances that will be supported by lights, costumes, set design and other spectacular production values.
To help make all this possible, we're hiring our first fulltime employee on September 1st to help coordinate the project and would like to introduce you (see photo below). Her name is Pauline Ducreux, she is from France and recently graduated from BioForce, one of the world's leading schools focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene. Pauline worked with BARKA in Tantiaka and Lampiadi previously and has proven herself as a tremendous asset to the BARKA team on the ground.
We look forward to keeping you abreast of our progress and will be back in touch again before we leave for Burkina Faso.
Thank you for your continued support, understanding and solidarity. We couldn't do this without you!
Ina & Esu
Greetings to all supporters of clean water in Burkina Faso!
The BARKA Foundation has phenomenal news to share: the village of Lampiadi has a new well and clean water for all the community to share!
With your support and funding made possibly by the Rotary Foundation, combined with BARKA's hard work on the ground and the community’s enthusiasm and leadership, The BARKA Foundation was able to facilitate the drilling of a well and installment of a pump for the village. The people of Lampiadi organized two groups: a water and sanitation committee which underwent six months of training by BARKA's local staffers to understand how to maintain the well and to organize finances. This committee chose a group of "hygienists" who received a two-month BARKA training in hygiene education to be the permanent change agents to teach other community members. The pump pushes 2,000L of water per hour, sustaining the village and bringing them a need that is a basic human right.
After the well was completed, BARKA and the village of Lampiadi organized an inauguration not only to celebrate the first time their village has seen clean water, but also to show their gratitude to everyone in the United States and in Burkina Faso who helped make this dream a reality.
Simultaneously, the village of Tantiaka (only 12 km away from Lampiadi) has been stepping up its game in building the capacity of their water and sanitation resources. After seeing Lampiadi’s successes, they are even more motivated than before in working hard and mobilizing action in improving hygiene throughout the community. Again, thanks to your support, the committee leaders in Tantiaka will be able to reinforce hygiene education in the community and add a Menstrual Hygiene Management component to ensure that girls not only stay in school, but also receive the necessary support to address this often neglected and taboo issue.
The villages of Lampiadi and Tantiaka are an example to all developing communities. They are continuing to take charge of their future and are working hard in providing additional training to the local water and sanitation committees in each village. As they know how to collect funds from each villager to save money for future repairs for the well, the population is taking full ownership of all project activities and building their capacities to manage them successfully.
None of this would be possible without your much needed support. We are blessed to have you on our team. Thank you Rotary International, Marblehead Rotary, and Swampscott Rotary. We are back in the States to continue working hard in mobilizing a change in Burkina to bring clean water to the rest of the population.
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