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Koussiri, an African village

During my stay in Burkina Faso, I had the chance to visit a little village near of Nouna called Koussiri. This village is interesting because there's running a global humanitarian project. This project is global as there are 2 important projects in one, concerning 2 main aspects of the humanitarian help for the villages in Africa: water and school.

During my stay in Burkina Faso, I had the chance to visit a little village near of Nouna called Koussiri. This village is interesting because there’s running a global humanitarian project. This project is global as there are 2 important projects in one, concerning 2 main aspects of the humanitarian help for the villages in Africa: water and school.

The first project is the “Water pump” one: the villages need a pure water source to have always, at anytime of the year clear and healthy water for every use. The traditional fountains are often problematic, because the water level can be very different depending of the season and in the dry season there can be no water at all. And as the fountains are often totally open, it’s the best source of diseases and infections and main source of epidemic problems among the populations.

The water pump has the advantage to be a regular and clean water source, totally closed and with a wheel pump system to have the exact amount of water needed. But for this system is another problem to know about: if there’s a technical problem on the pump and if no one in the village can repair it, the people will have the same problems again. So the project was also about the technical knowledge teaching to the people of the village and give them a essential toolbox to repair the pump if there’s a problem. And sometimes that can cost a bit money. So, along with the installation of the pumps and the technical teaching, you need to have one person in the village (mainly a woman, because Men aren’t able to manage money….), able to collect a regular contribution from each one to have a little financial reserve in case of a bigger problem that needs an external intervention.

All this cost money and to have all these aspects well installed in a village, you need a few years and a lot of energy. In Koussiri, this “Water” project is finished now, but that represents 4 years of work!

The other part of the project is the school: alphabetization is a very important aspect from development and as long as the young generation can’t read, write and count, they will never manage to have a better life. So, if in the main cities the school system is ok, in the little villages there’s nothing for the kids. They work all day with their parents in the fields and at home, and as the parent themselves can’t read or write, they don’t think it’s important to have this knowledge. And they need the work of their kids.

The project in Koussiri was to built a little school building, to find a local teacher able to teach them the basics of alphabetization and convince the parents to let their children go to school! As they often need their kids in the day, they agreed only for the evening, when no more work has to be done. But then, is a anther simple problem: in Burkina Faso, after 6 o’clock pm the night is falling and how can you teach something to kids in the dark without any electricity or light??? Candles? Ok, but it’s not the best and you must buy them in great quantities… How could you bring a bit of electrical power in the village?

The solution was found with a little solar installation: the sun is very powerful all year, and with 3-4 little solar patches you can provide enough light for a little classroom. And this was made in Koussiri this year.

When we visited this school, almost all the kids were there because it was early in the morning, before they go to the fields) and they were so proud to show us their school. I could make a good shooting session of them and see a bit how the school was working. After that, we walked through the village, met the people and see how they lived: they were very happy about all these new installations and said that it changed their lives!

But that’s only one village amongst many other, and that shows how long and complicated this humanitarian project could be before every village has some help… But you never must loose your faith in such tasks, and slowly but surely the situation can be better….

written by vicuna

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