BARKA works in several different aspects of the education sector.
Hygiene Education in Villages and Schools
BARKA delivers a robust hygiene education program in all the villages with which it partners. We also choose rural communities that have schools so that we may address hygiene education at its source- the local primary school. By teaching children at an early age, basic hygiene becomes ingrained and students then become change agents within their family, asking and demanding for improved sanitation in the home and sharing the knowledge they learned in school. This is an important part of “WASH-in-Schools,” the global effort to ensure that all schools have clean water, sanitation and hygiene education. BARKA is a member of UNICEF’s Global Call to Action for WASH-in-Schools, an informal coalition of over 70 organizations working around the globe in this domain.
97% of the rural population BARKA serves practices open defecation. The big question is: how do you create a demand for improved sanitation that will last? BARKA’s expert animators take a combined strategy of giving a series of village-wide demonstrations as well as teaching the teachers of the local school how to sustain an ongoing hygiene education program. We rely heavily on illustrations since it is a largely illiterate environment. BARKA works closely with the principal and teachers of the local school, the Parent’s Association and the Association of Student’s Mothers, as well as the village water & sanitation committee. As a part of our WASH projects, BARKA helps schools establish Student Health Clubs and donates hand washing stations, garbage bins, supplies and gear for cleaning latrines.
In 2015-16, BARKA supported a rural village to reconstruct its school. This was a village BARKA had worked with during its 5-Village WASH Project. Included in that effort was a social mobilization program that worked so well the village decided to mobilize themselves to solve a long-standing problem. They had a school for many years made of millet stalks. There are hundreds of schools like this throughout Burkina. The learning conditions are challenging because it is open to the elements, snakes and scorpions enter the classroom, and worst of all, each year during the rainy season the roof would collapse and need to be rebuilt. The village raised $1000 of its own funds, and came to BARKA to complete the funding to so they could build a more permanent structure for their school. We were overjoyed because it was a testament to the impact of our presence in their village, and they designed the plans for the new structure, built it themselves and did it all independently.
This endeavor was praised by the local government who attended the inauguration of the new school as an example of how NGOs can truly partner with villages to aid and support them to go further.
Internet Access and Computer Literacy
Through the generous support of a single donor (see Donor Profile) BARKA Foundation has brought internet access to 3 high schools in Fada N’Gourma. This has made a huge difference for the students, teachers and administration to be able to get online without having to go to the “cyber café” after school.
In the public high school of Fada, Lycee Communal de Fada, the availability of the internet inspired the school to begin a computer club to help students become more computer literate. This was then complemented by the donation of several computers and tablets by Swampscott High School in Massachusetts, whose Interact students (young Rotarians) raised funds through a series of initiatives for this purpose. As a part of their school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, students constructed a wiki– a private online platform where information between the two high schools could be exchanged in an efficient and secure manner. Students at Lycee Communal in Fada were able to upload photos and letters to the French and Art classes at Swampscott, who responded in what became a kind of online penpal relationship, which continues today.