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.
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