Who We Are
Friends of Guirgho’s mission is to partner with rural schools in Burkina Faso, beginning with the village of Guirgho, to maximize the potential of every student by providing access to state-of-the-art educational tools and technology.
Burkina Faso is a small country in western Africa with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. It is also a place where people are warm and welcoming, where young people routinely greet their elders with gestures of respect, where Muslims and Christians and indigenous religious and ethnic groups live side-by-side and intermarry — a place teeming with life and possibility.
Guirgho is a rural village nestled in the center of Burkina Faso. In Guirgho, the challenge for teachers, as in many rural schools, is the lack of resources. Teachers often have to teach up to 80 children with diverse abilities in a single classroom. Text books, when available at all, are often outdated and insufficient in quantity for all students. The primary teaching tool remains the chalk board, on which teachers must write or draw entire lessons.
Currently, children in Guirgho attend kindergarten to 12th grade without ever seeing or touching a computer. The prospects for children without basic computer skills in today’s global economy are very limited. Friends of Guirgho believes that greater access to technology will result in a larger pool of potential innovators able to meet the challenges facing their families, their communities, their country, and the world.
The centerpiece of Friends of Guirgho’s vision is a computer center that will incorporate space for computer assisted instruction for teachers and students. During non-school hours, adult members of the village may also use the facility to advance their education. Our objective is to help enhance the existing curriculum and see where we can be of support to the teachers and students.
All of Friends of Guirgho’s efforts will result in a template that can be scaled, replicated, and implemented throughout the country and beyond. In addition to the computer center, the plan includes:
• Construction of a workshop, with tools and training, to enable students to learn how to repair desks and develop trade skills that can be used for other school and/or village-related projects with, perhaps, income potential;
• A school garden to help feed the students and grow additional produce that could bring in supplemental income for the school;
• Cotton spinning, which is a traditional but dying craft in the village. Friends of Guirgho can support its revival, thereby generating and stimulating a market for weaving;
• Establishing a preschool to provide young children with essential pre-literacy experiences.
During this early phase we:
Repainted the classrooms
Re-surfaced the floors
Restored the desks
Installed solar-powered ceiling fans in the classrooms
Constructed new sanitary latrines
Created a workshop
Fabricated picnic tables and blackboards for outdoor learning spaces
Now that the Purple Phase is complete, we will:
Renovate Teachers’ Quarters
Install a solar-powered well and filtration system
Plant School Garden
Create a solar microgrid to bring electricity to school property
Our last phase of the project will include:
Construction of a solar microgrid to provide power to the computer center
Building and equipping a computer center
Establishing a pre-school which will include early French language instruction
Fostering artisanal initiatives and community use of the computer center for adult learning