Hygiene Education through Social Arts

With the Social Arts Program, BARKA and its financing partner One Drop (http://www.onedrop.org/) are bringing professional theatre for social messaging to Burkina Faso’s Eastern Region. The two organizations share the conviction that cultural arts can serve as an effective tool to facilitate debate about the value of water, importance of good hygiene practices, good governance, and the key role which women play in water resource management, to organically bring about behavioral change.

Technical assistance and trainings were provided by BARKA’s implementation partner Espace Culturel Gambidi (http://www.gambidi.org/) a Ouagadougou-based company which is widely recognized as a national and regional leader in theatre education and performance. The high quality standards the three partner organizations had set
for the program were reflected in the intensive five-week preparation period before the start of the performances. Local actors were chosen after an initial casting session and a one-week selection process. Ten performers were then prepared for the performances and helped to create the play in a comprehensive workshop led by two professional theatre acting coaches and directors.

The play ‘Water for the Present and for the Future’ was developed in collaboration between Espace Gambidi and The BARKA Foundation and is based on an original idea of BARKA’s social arts team. A total of 35 performances in villages and high schools brought this original creation’s fun and excitement but also its important social messages about responsibility in hygiene and water management to a sizeable part of the region’s population.

The play was performed in French at high schools and in the local language of Gulimanchema in the villages where French is not widely understood. Post-performance debates allowed the audience to take part, to engage with
the actors, and to give feedback on what had been presented. Student leaders in schools and water management committees in many villages committed to adopting and pursuing improved hygiene and water management practices.

Following the resounding success of the first edition of the Social Arts program, The BARKA Foundation and its partners are currently in the planning stages for the continuation of this innovative program. Your contribution can help us continue our engagement to bring crucial water and sanitation messages to Burkina Faso’s schools and villages.

Project Facts: Social Arts

  • Objective: Reinforcement of hygiene education through theatre and social art
  • Duration: March to May 2015
  • Estimated Number of Beneficiaries: 15,000 people directly by attending the performances; 31,000 indirectly
  • Total budget: 38,084 USD


The BARKA Foundation: c/o Ina & Esu PO Box 2, Burlington, ME 04417 | Tel: 413-446-7466
Foundation BARKA: BP 88 Fada N’Gourma, Burkina Faso, West Africa | Tel: 00 226 24 77 07 43 | www.barkafoundation.org