I can see that the weather in Europe is not very nice, some people say miserable. In Burkina it is getting warmer each day. I was in Ouagadougou yesterday and it was difficult to move around. Not a very nice sensation when the piece of paper you are writing on is sticking to your arm! A good rain would help cool down some. This afternoon some dark clouds, but no rain yet.

I often wrote in this weekly bulletin about education in Burkina. In short, both government and large donors (IMF, World bank, EU) are making sure that education does not improve. The government has no interest in having an educated population if he wants to manipulate them. Large institutions rules to support education programs are written by “civil servants” whom we wonder sometime if they have been out of their New York or Brussels offices and if they think about the implication of the rules they are setting. One of the problems is that the people in the field from these institutions, measuring and reporting on the results, cannot tell the truth. If they say that the policy does not work, they will probably or be sent to a “not so welcoming” place or they will be fired. Very often everybody is very happy about themselves (government officials and local representative of large organisations) and together they are also depleting the funds allocated to education projects.

In The Netherlands there was recently an advertisement campaign of SPA (mineral water company) which said that a certain amount of the price of the bottle was going to be used for water wells in Burkina (by UNICEF). We have ourselves done many water wells and they are equipped with a “blue pump”, designed in the Netherlands. Paul, the designer, contacted UNICEF in order to have his pump homologated by them. It is not that easy, UNICEF people have already their own contacts with other manufacturers and most likely receive commission on the number of pumps bought. It also appeared that the funds coming from SPA are going first to UNICEF headquarters in New York, then some of it is coming to UNICEF in Burkina. In New York and in Burkina, UNICEF has a rather large overhead. How much from the collected funds from SPA are really going into water wells? How many of those wells are really equipped with proper pumps???? I have never been able to find out what are the % of overhead of large institution relative to their income is. Does anybody know?

It is finally raining with a lot of thunder.

Enough with complaining and let's talk about our projects.

On Tuesday we had a meeting with the farmers of the social agricultural business: SYS. SYS has 2 farmers on the farm of Sokourani and both had the same job description and same salary. This created some confusion and a lack of motivation for both farmers. Sys will work 16 hectares this year, mainly producing certified seeds for the farmers, members of SYS. 120 registered early 2012, but only 50 paid their fees to be a member. SYS will work with those 50 who are from 4 different villages. Since we will have 4 tractors, it works out nicely.

The farm has houses, a garage and a water well. We also just finished a small bridge to make sure we can access the houses from the road.

The living quarters of the farmThe living quarters of the farm The bridgeThe bridge

Jean Franois (ASAP adviser) in the chair listening to Martin (head of the village)Jean Franois (ASAP adviser) in the chair listening to Martin (head of the village)

Wednesday we went to the village of Fina. This is the village where we started our activities 15 years ago. Due to difficulties with the local leaders, we stopped going to this village for over 7 years. Since 2011 we are back thanks to a change of mentality in the leadership.

We learned that in 2011 214 kids were born in the maternity of the village and that they are already at 145 year to date!!! A lot of work to be done on family planning. But the bad part is that they have only 25 new kids in primary school. To change this we have planned the increase of the size of the school (from 3 classes to 6). Fortunately we have been able to find a sponsor for this and we could announce the good news to the village. They say that a minimum of 50 kids will be starting primary school next year, but they think that it can go up to 70. Let's wait and see.

School kids_of_Fina_1School kids of Fina School kids_of_Fina_2
Finas folks Fina's folks Finas folks_2

School director left and the 2 other teachers greeting an old manSchool director left and the 2 other teachers greeting an old man

As mentioned at the start of this letter, I went to Ouagadougou to discuss with a consultant about the setup of our social businesses. While we were there with Emmanuel (ASAP Director in Burkina), we got a call from one of our scholarship holder Gabin. He was in Ouagadougou for a national athletic competition. He is “cadet” (just before junior) and he was running the 100 meters. He won!!! Nice.

Gabin with his trainer in the big stadium in OuagadougouGabin with his trainer in the big stadium in Ouagadougou

Calao bird seen on the way back from FinaCalao bird seen on the way back from Fina

A blue_bird_ready_to_flyA blue bird ready to fly

On Tuesday, Emmanuel had a daughter. Mother and child are fine. But if you can, try to avoid the hospital of Bobo Dioulasso. Priscille (mother) had to have a c section. The following day she was taken out of her bed and put in the corridor on a mat!!!!!

African saying of this week: Do not give new clothes to a blind, but with the money of the coat give him a meal. “Ne donnez pas un nouvel habit à un aveugle, mais plutôt payez lui un repas avec l'argent de l'habit”.

Do not forget 30th of June 2012 in Naarden: celebration of the 15 years of ASAP.

Blijf op de hoogte van onze ontwikkelingen!