Nothing much to report from Burkina. With the coming of the rains, a lot of people are busy in the fields. There was a strike in Ouagadougou from the airport employees. Their contract said that they should get some social housing. Since nothing was happening they went on a 2 days strike. No planes in Burkina Faso for 2 days!!!!!

In Burkina you have gathered from my messages that the school education system is very inefficient. I am trying to compute the costs of a successful student. May be somebody can help me use the right approach for this. We know that only 30 out 100 kids starting primary school finish the primary school and enter secondary education. The program of primary school is 6 years and the yearly costs of the school is about 20.000 euro per year. How do you compute the costs of a study of a successful child? I am not sure if it is relevant, but the school has an average of 300 pupils in total (6 levels). We can consider that all the unsuccessful kids’ education has no value. I have my idea, but I am not sure if it is correct. Hope to read from you.

Peuhl is an ethnical group taking care of cattle. They have been nomads and are going from place to place to find feed for their cattle. As many traveling people, they have the reputation of stealing and not to be trusted since they can go away without notice. Slowly they are settling down since it is more and more difficult to avoid conflict between farmers and shepherds. One of their not so nice characteristics is the early age at which they will marry their daughters: 12, 13 years old. Talking to some Peuhl this week we realized that this is slowly changing if the girls are going to school.

Today the land belongs to the government. But in a village in Burkina the land is distributed among the original settlers of the villages. It is distributed among families and to keep track of who has what, there is in each village a “chief of the land” (chef des terres). He is an older man who knows in his head the limits between families. Markers are mainly trees and river beds. There is no ownership document. In most villages, land is not for sale. For people as the Peuhl, they have to ask the land owners for some space to settle. The land will be then lent and they can be asked to go away at any time. Without any long term security they invest a minimum on the land: house in mud, not authorized to plant trees, no infrastructure for their cattle.

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Peuhl men on the front row

In the village of Sokourani we have been giving loans to fatten their cows to a Peuhl association. In the beginning the loan was linked to the number of children sent to school. They have always paid us back and on time. Through the year we had not really followed up on the schooling situation of the association members. It was time for an update. We had a meeting with the members and asked them many questions about their family and the schooling of their children. I was surprised to hear that all the kids with school age where in school. Even some girls had been sent to secondary schools and not immediately married off.

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In the association there are 3 people from the Bobo ethnical group. Since we have some unpaid loans with the Bobo we wanted to discuss the situation with the group. One of the questions we asked was how many heads of cattle they had. Normally they are not really open with this type of information. To our surprise, there was no difficulty to get the info (is it correct?).

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We had to define the rules for a new loans. Looking at the number of cattle we realize that for more than 50% of them there was a correlation between this number and the amount they had asked. So instead of looking at number of kids going to school, we based the new loans on number of cattle they had. The 3 Bobo of the group had given rather low number of cattle and will get a small loan.

Next time we will have to find another rule.

On the way back we stopped in Mogobasso to take out the furniture of the nursery school which we had closed beginning of 2013. The men have major problems and we do not see how to help them to solve these problems. The local mayor is getting involved now to see how to unblock the situation. To be continued…

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Odile talking to some of the women of Mogobasso

On Thursday we went to Kofila to clarify the conditions under which some of the projects will be done (infrastructure).

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Leaders from Kofila

The meeting went well and then we kept on talking about the school results of the village. They are not good and one of the characteristic of the children of this village is the lack of discipline. We have realized this at our private school the LAP, with children with other scholarships, at their primary schools and at they own secondary school.

They all realized that it comes from a lack of control of the children by the parents. We will look at how we can make the parents aware of the situation.

On the way back we stopped at Toungana to receive the new primary school. It was built in 3 years and is now completed: 3 houses for the teachers and 3 classes with an office.

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The 3 houses for the teachers

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The new and old building of the school of Toungana.

This will be all for this week.

I will let you go with the proverb of the week:

“ Ce qui est passé a fui; ce que tu espères est absent; mais le présent est à
toi. ”

What happened has fled, what you hopeisabsent, buttodayis yours.

Take care,

Herve

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