Transformative Ways of Addressing Poverty Eradication in Burkina Faso

While I was searching for organizations addressing the water crisis, I found an organization called The BARKA Foundation, which potentially seems to be transformative (and I don’t use that word lightly). It says that it is run entirely by volunteers and that since it began, no one involved has drawn a salary (which sort of makes me wonder how it can be sustainable but also is reassuring in that donations go directly to the cause, not to paying a CEO’s salary, like with some nonprofits). According to the website, “BARKA’s work can most easily be summarized in three words: PEACE, WATER & WISDOM”: 

Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Burkina Faso, considered to be among the poorest countries in the world.  BARKA is spearheading theBARKA Burkina Consortium, an international collaborative effort to uncover a new approach toward poverty eradication.  Its methodology is community-led, grassroots and combines indigenous and modern technologies to develop a set of best practices in areas of clean water accessibility, sanitation,  irrigation, sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment, education, and healthcare.

One of the things about BARKA that most strikes me as unique and wonderful is that it doesn’t feel as though they are trying to “help” (save) those in need. This doesn’t seem to be a case of privileged U.S. citizens being horrified by the plight of those poor people in Africa and bringing in their superior knowledge to fix things.

To the contrary, the co-founders “were equally struck by the power, vitality and wisdom of indigenous Africa” and “see their [chosen] family in La Petite as gifted, rich and having much to teach.” BARKA values indigenous rights and follows the UN’s method of Free Prior Informed Consent, which

recognizes indigenous peoples’ inherent and prior rights to their land and resources and respects their legitimate authority to require that third parties enter into an equal and respectful relationship with them, based on the principle of informed consent.

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