So, I must brag about my wonderful theater troupe. We just received word that their project for sound equipment is going to be funded. This is a major success as we have been working on the project proposal for the last six months. They plan to use the sound equipment to attract a larger audience and to host dances in the village in order to earn money for future props, costumes and other needs. The ultimate goal is to fund another bike a thon in two years.
I originally wrote a proposal to the Friends of Burkina Faso organization. They are a group of returned Burkina Peace Corps volunteers who fund well organized groups. The organization prefers to work very closely with host country nationals so we were asked to submit another proposal written in french by the association members. This is definately an undertaking that is more easily said than done; however, the group pulled together and finished the grant. They were then asked a series of detailed questions and had to come up with an action plan for the next two years. Because we had no way to transfer funds, two group members had to make two trips to Koudougou in order to open an account at the bank. We also had to find a trustworthy Burkinabe who can use the internet to act as a superviser after I leave. Finally, two members also made a trip to Ouagadougou in order to meet with a representative of the organization. So after much hard work, they truly deserve this sound equipment.
Although it was a lot of work for them, I really believe this has made them a sustainable and efficient group. The group was really well organized when I first got to Tiogo but they had always relied on a volunteer as a way to finance their activities and guide them. Because the project required detailed and measurable goals, they have now been forced to organize themselves and rely on one another. Their biggest obstacle has always been a lack of money, but they now hope to earn it themselves through the dances, a video club (really just a television and vcr where they show movies and charge people a small fee) and by renting out their equipement. In order to measure their effectiveness, we are currently working on baseline data collection. They are interviewing people in the village about malaria and AIDS (this is especially difficult now that it is the rainy season and they must work in the fields.
Thanks to all of you who have been sending positive thought vibes and prayers our way. This means that I will definately be back in July as it was one of my last big activities. I am more than ready for it and hope to see you all soon!