Clean Water for Rural Villagers in Burkina Faso

by BARKA Foundation
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!


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.


Ina & Esu

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
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!
Latrine for Primary School Being Constructed
Latrine for Primary School Being Constructed

After 12 months, the Fada WASH project is coming to a close. We are currently in the final stages of building the last latrines and getting ready monitor and evaluate our work in order to gauge the impact and effectiveness of the project. None of this would have been possible with your support over the past year!

Once these results are compiled, we will be sharing them with you via Global Giving project updates. In the meantime, we are already beginning to set our sights on what’s next. The next few months will be a time for project development and further fundraising.

Here are the future projects BARKA is currently developing:

  • Continuing to work even deeper with the villages of the Fada WASH project in the domain of water, sanitation & hygiene and to use the results of the water accounting survey we conducted earlier this year to better serve the many more hamlets within these same villages that have desperate need for clean water and improved sanitation
  • To perform the play BARKA produced “Water for the Present and for the Future” to an even wider audience within the commune of Fada because it proved to be so effective at teaching how to properly manage water resources
  • To implement a market study for a social enterprise BARKA is getting off the ground which will manufacture, sell and distribute ceramic water filters. This would be the first of its kind in Burkina Faso.
  • And lastly, to venture into the domain of agriculture through a reforestation project which would also serve to empower women through sustainable business opportunities

We'd also like to point out that BARKA recently posted a micro-project on Global Giving.  We are seeking to raise $2000 to build a more permanent structure for the school of Dandantiri, one of the villages which received latrines and hygiene education as part of the Fada WASH project.  The village itself has raised funds among themselves and has already begun working on this project. They approached BARKA to ask us to complete the financing. You can visit the new Global Giving project page and find further information here. Thank you for your consideration of supporting this worthy project which will not only directly benefit 78 students, it will empower an entire community.

The next year will be an interesting one for BARKA as we close two of the largest projects of our organization’s history and get ready to set new goals and achievements by building on our success and stepping out into unchartered territory. As BARKA grows and develops new projects, we invite you to continue walking alongside us through this wonderful journey which is only feasible through your generous financial support.

On behalf of the villagers we have served through the past year, who are always telling us to bless those who have contributed to the project that has benefitted them, we say to you, barka!

The mason, doing his job.
The mason, doing his job.
Local Government visits site to oversee the work
Local Government visits site to oversee the work
Bricks made and ready for use...
Bricks made and ready for use...


The Drilling of a New Well
The Drilling of a New Well

Dear all,

My name is D.J. Brooks and I am currently a third year student at Harvard University and am interning with the BARKA Foundation this summer in Fada N’Gourma, Burkina Faso. I have been asked to give you all an update as to the work the Foundation has completed over the past several months with the FADA WASH project, and I would be remiss to think that I could include it all in detail in this update. In these few months past, the Foundation has been engaged in truly inspiring and impressive work here in Burkina Faso and we want to share it with all of you.

For this project, the Foundation has been working with five different communities: Koaré, Bouguy, Boungou, Kanougou, and Natiaboani. In each of the communities, BARKA is working to mobilize and engage the people around water, sanitation, and hygiene through sustainable community involvement. In four of the communities, BARKA is working directly with the local schools to promote sound sanitation and hygiene practices. Through the financial support of Rotary International, BARKA has given essential materials to each of the schools,, including hand-washing stations and soap, brooms and dust pans to clean classrooms, plastic water transport containers, fruits trees to be grown at the schools, and animation cards intended to reinforce good sanitation practices. Teachers from these schools, as well, have been trained in hygiene and sanitation techniques for the classroom, further encouraging the adoption of sound WASH practices. In these communities, gender-specific latrines are being installed at the schools by local, experienced masons to enable the villages to begin to manage their sanitation needs. Each of the villages will be facilitated in the coming months by an experienced BARKA staff member who will be able to aid the teachers in finding the best, most effective ways to maintain and promote good hygiene in the schools.

At the same time, BARKA is working with the BESER enterprise and the Regional Direction of Water and Sanitation to install four wells in four of these same communities. In each community, BARKA has helped to organize and train a Water Point Committee (WPC) to guarantee exemplary water service and to collect funds from the association of water users to allow for future well repairs. In addition to the WPC, BARKA has trained two women from each village as hygienists whose charge it will to be to teach and reinforce to the villagers the practices of proper sanitation and hygiene. In “teaching the teachers,” BARKA is able to maximize the number of people receiving this information. Currently in progress as I type this update is a workshop, also, to train a mechanic from each of the villages in how to repair the well when it malfunctions. In doing so, BARKA is able to help the community safeguard their access to this essential resource. Like with the hygiene and sanitation efforts in the schools, these WPC’s and hygienists will be guided by BARKA staffers who will aid them in the management and accounting of funds collected as well as in creation of a robust list of users of the water source.

Over the past few months, BARKA has engaged as well in a major Social Art collaboration with the OneDrop Foundation and the Espace Culturel Gambidi to reinforce the hygiene education component of the FADA WASH project.  In particular, this "spectacle" imparted effective social messages on the issues of improved sanitation, basic hygiene, the need for collecting funds for sustainability (future repairs), the importance of good governance of the water committee, and the key role women play in the management of water resources.  The diffusion of the theatrical performance has been realized in each village where the FADA WASH project is being implemented, as well as 14 other villages plus 13 high schools in the region. More than 10 000 people have been sensitized through this social art project.

I have come to work at BARKA during a period of explosive growth for the organization. I myself have been a BARKA supporter and fundraiser for many years. In 2010 as a student at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, ME, my close friend Christina Long and I organized the first annual Peace, Water, and Wisdom 5k Race to raise money for BARKA and to raise awareness about WASH issues plaguing many around the globe. This year’s race will be our fifth annual event and has been continued by the Student Environmental Action Committee at the school. Over the past five years, the event has raised thousands of dollars for BARKA and I now find myself in a unique position. I have fundraised for the foundation without seeing first hand the impact and the in-country work that has been happening. Here now, I am able to observe and contribute to the incredible and life-changing work in which they engage and from it have gained a new perspective that will most definitely fuel my support and love for this organization. It is a joy to share it with you and hopefully to provide a more tangible sense of the impact your support is having on the ground.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your financial support of The BARKA Foundation, without which this work would not be possible. On behalf of the thousands of rural Burkinabè who are gaining access to sustainable clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene education through your personal involvement and generosity, I wish to say thank you. Barka!


Best wishes from Burkina,


A Scene from the Social Art Project
A Scene from the Social Art Project
Construction of New Latrines
Construction of New Latrines
A Hand-Washing Station Given to a School
A Hand-Washing Station Given to a School



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Organization Information

BARKA Foundation

Location: Burlington, ME - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Esu Anahata
Founder of BARKA foundation
Burlington, ME United States
$31,694 raised of $49,000 goal
443 donations
$17,306 to go
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