Monthly Archives: June 2010

Burkina Faso: Protecting the Environment by Profiting from Garbage

Burkina Faso’s first plastic recycling centre is paving the way for a new kind of development project. This centre was the brain child of Andrea Micconi who works with the Italian NGO, LVIA (Lay Volunteers International Association).  His project had two aims: first to help stop the degradation of Burkina’s environment and second is to alleviate poverty. Today this recycling centre is successfully meeting these goals –  while functioning as a money earner for the country’s poorest it is also at the same time tackling environmental pollution. Furthermore, the local industry is also benefiting – the recycled plastic granules cost half the price of importing new plastic from abroad.

Here is a link short video clip (in english or in french) and an article by the world bank, In the Can: Burkina Faso Profits From Garbage, with further information about this plastic recycling centre.

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Burkina Faso: History

Burkina Faso's Ethnic Groups

Burkina Faso is home to more than 60 ethnic groups, each speaking its own language. Some of these peoples, such as the Bobo, Bissa, Gourounsi and Dogon, were living in the area as early as the 12th century. Between the 13th and 15th centuries the Mossi rode North with their cavalry to establish new kingdoms which came to dominate the region. Others, such as the Fulani herders of the north and the Gourma in the East, moved in to complete the mosaic of peoples which make up the country today.

Mossi

Mossi

The Mossi are famous for having the longest continuous royal dynasty in West Africa, dating back over 500 years. In 1896 the French invaded and ousted Naaba Wobgo, known as the Elephant Emperor, and the area became part of French West Africa. In 1919 Upper Volta was created, with borders similar to those of Burkina Faso today. After the Second World War (1939-45) political activity intensified throughout French West and Equatorial Africa, and the first modern political parties began to emerge. Maurice Yaméogo led the country into independence on 5 August 1960, and became its first President.

Since 1960 there have been five coups, and political power has passed back and forth between civilian and military governments. In 1983 Captain Thomas Sankara led a successful military coup and established a reforming government which named the country “Burkina Faso”. Sankara was killed in a revolt led by his second-in-command, Captain Blaise Compaoré. Compaoré became the new President, a position which was confirmed in the 1991 election, when he was the only candidate. He was re-elected in 1998.

Captain Thomas Sankara

Captain Thomas Sankara

Captain Blaise Compaoré

Captain Blaise Compaoré

Flights Confirmed

"Montmartre, Paris"

Our flights are now booked & we luckily get a two-week stopover in Paris en route. As this will be my first time in Paris (actually to be precise, my first time in Europe) I am obviously somewhat excited about this.

Service From To Depart Arrive
Air France
AF349
Montréal,

Canada

Paris,

France

Tue 17th Aug

10:45pm

Wed 18th Aug

11:30am

Service From To Depart Arrive
Air France

AF536

Paris,

France

Ougadougou,

Burkina Faso

Thu 2nd Sept

04:40pm

Thu 2nd Sept

7:40pm

Blogs of Life in Burkina Faso

I have been following with intrest the blogs of a few current CUSO-VSO volunteers in Burkina Faso.  Their blogs provide great insight into what we can expect on arrival and the changes and challenges we will face as we adjust to a new country & culture.  I feel very fortunate to have such great resources available to me as I prepare to depart. For anyone interested here are the links to three such blogs:

  • Ève & Simon, a couple of nurses working in the area of HIV/AIDS, along with their three children of 10, 6 & 3 have decided to return to Burkina Faso for a second time after a previous visit in 2005-2006. Their blog, Les Toubabous de Bobo,  has many interesting posts including a recent one with photos of their new home.  They also have an interesting collection of videos posted here.
  • Second up is Gabriel’s blog, Gabriel chez les Burkinabè!?!. A very engaging read, I particularly like his post on arrival, Not yet 72 hours in africa and already along with Day 47 which was on of the first blogs/posts I read about Burkina Faso & I was not sure whether to laugh, cry or be scared after reading it.
  • And the third blog, Michelle au Burkina also has some great posts & photos. La vie ouaga n’est pas facile (Life in Ouaga is not that easy) highlights the daily realities for many Burkinabes and volunteers alike and Hot Hot Hot seems to be a reoccurring sentiment among bloggers for some reason.