The BARKA Foundation

The BARKA Foundation is a UN-affiliated NGO. BARKA's complex mission can be summarized as developing new models for achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals in Burkina Faso.

Housatonic, MA
Natural Resources Management

'Barka' is an African word of gratitude, blessing & reciprocity.

The BARKA Foundation has grown out of our deep sense of gratitude to the people of Burkina Faso and to indigenous people worldwide. BARKA's work is about Peace, Water & Wisdom.

We are building bridges between developing and developed countries so we may learn from each other. We put peace into action through poverty eradication and developing new models for achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Burkina Faso.

CLEAN WATER is the starting point. That's what the women of bush villages in Burkina told us when we asked them how to begin working together.


In order to satisfy the MDGs, we must also address sanitation, irrigation, sustainable agriculture, education, healthcare, and moreā€¦ BARKA also believes music, art & culture are vital ingredients in developing successful micro-initiatives which provide replicable models for poverty eradication that can scale.


In late 2004 The BARKA Foundation was formed in order to preserve, learn and disseminate indigenous spiritual healing traditions and to create the conditions for those wisdoms to be shared with the West. Component parts of that mission include developing a relationship of reconciliation and reciprocity between indigenous and post-modern civilizations, and to bring the indigenous voice to a prominent seat at the table of world discourse on the crises facing our planet at this time.


Through the course of repeated visits to Burkina Faso, BARKA's current area of geographic focus, and through fostering ties with several UN agencies, these spiritual endeavors led to a shift in focus and a dedication to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Burkina Faso so that its people could meet the basic needs for human survival. The degree of poverty especially for the rural part of the population is so extreme that it became impossible not to work to change it. It is our mission to attract attention and resources to Burkina and to work in collaboration with others to effect positive change through the eradication of poverty. BARKA is bridging indigenous and modern technologies, communities within Burkina and developed nations, and placing special emphasis on accessibility to clean water and women's empowerment to create a grassroots, community-led approach toward the creation of a new model for how such a task can be replicated worldwide.

BARKA searches for communities in the US to work with schools, youth groups, women's associations, faith-based organizations, businesses, artists, political and civic leaders to link them with their counterparts in Burkina Faso to build bridges between Africa and the US in service of creating a culture of peace. BARKA doesn't believe in charity. Charity is obsolete. The new development paradigm which BARKA and many of its solidarity organizations are ushering in is about reciprocity and enabling our gifts to be shared with one another.


The BARKA Foundation is a UN-affiliated NGO (non-governmental organization). BARKA's complex mission can be summarized as developing new models for achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals in Burkina Faso. Because we are are a small organization with limited resources, our work yields the greatest impact by focusing on a single country, and at the present time, primarily a single village where we have partnered with its indigenous population to develop a set of best practices for MDG satisfaction, self-empowerment and prosperity. This enables and compels us to work holistically and integrally in areas of water, sanitation, hygiene, irrigation, sustainable agriculture, healthcare strengthening initiatives, women's empowerment, education and fostering international partnerships for development.


In the United States, BARKA's work is focused on education (K-College), particularly service-learning initiatives that teach students about concrete ways to build peace, cultural competence/sensitivity, and impart a sense of civic and planetary responsibility. Through engaging today's youth in inspired forms of activism, they become able to participate in changing the world and see through their own example how a single individual can make a difference.

Currently, BARKA is working with Bard College at Simon's Rock to develop an inaugural student exchange program to bring students to Burkina Faso and participate in the development work taking place in the small rural village where BARKA is focused. A corresponding semester course will include issues related to the indigenous paradigm, peace-building, water scarcity, West African cultural geography and history.


BARKA Networks is the media production arm of the organization. It consists of:

* Yessai Baba Productions (TV, Film, Music, Radio)
* Concerts, tours & events

Revenue from BARKA Networks is used to fuel the work of the foundation.

The BARKA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in Housatonic, Massachusetts and Burkina Faso, Africa.

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