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THE AFRICAN SISTER CITIES COMMITTEE

 

 
ABOUT THE COMMITTEE

Bienvenue!


Welcome to the website for Pocatello's African Sister Cities connection with Kwaremenguel, Burkina Faso!


Kwaremenguel is a village of about 5,000 located in Burkina Faso, a French-speaking country in northwestern Africa.

Pocatello African Sister Cities is a member of Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation—one individual, one community at a time.
 
HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Travel with us to Kwaremenguel this December, 2010. Click here for additional details about our upcoming trip. For information on how to participate, contact Peggy Johnson (237-6365) or Dana Olson (317-3918).
Become a committee member. To apply for a committee vacancy please fill-out and submit an Advisory Board Application. For additional questions click here.
Sponsor a student. Sponsoring a student is tax deductible.
Make a donation. We are a 501C3 non-profit, so all donations are also tax-deductible. Contact Dana Olson, or at 317-3918 for details on how to donate.
Attend our events. We will post event information as it becomes available. Click here for a list of our on-going fundraisers.
Buy crafts from Burkina Faso at Pocatello's College Market.
 
PURPOSE & HISTORY OF THE AFRICA PARTNERSHIP

Our connection began in 1998 when a group of 6 Pocatellans braved 115 temperatures to travel beyond all designated “roads” to meet with village elders in a remote village with no electricity, no running water, in the sub-Saharan country of Burkina Faso, which Wikipedia lists as an impoverished nation with the lowest literacy rate in the world. Serendipity had brought about this journey. The Pocatellans were looking for a small, needy village where our city could make a significant sustainable difference. Through Sister Cities International, they had been put in contact with Noël Teri, one of the few Kwaremenguel villagers who at that point had been able to receive higher education. Teri had by chance read a notice about Sister Cities and had become determined to find a “Sister” for his native village. The official partnership was formed in 1999.

 
PROJECTS

EARLY PROJECTS


From the start, our committee has worked on projects that the village as a whole has seen as most important and most practical. We have held a variety of fund-raisers, including selling hand-made crafts that are donated and sent to us yearly by the villagers, and Pocatellans have been most generous with their contributions. We began by helping the village install floors on the dispensary, which supplies rudimentary health care, and by purchasing a much-needed motor for their mill, their only means of processing the grain that is their main crop.

 

 

SMALL BUISNESS LOANS


We also provided seed money ($500) for small-business loans, which has been much utilized by their local women's coop, students, etc. With interest raised by these loans and the prompt repayment by borrowers, the village now has $16,000 in this program, a great example of the self-perpetuating programs that we have helped to start.

 

 

BUILDING A SCHOOL


In 2008, together we completed and furnished a 3-room elementary school. The villagers donated all the labor, including making hand-made bricks. (Video coming soon)

 

 

BUILDING HOUSING FOR TEACHERS


The Burkina Faso government will send teachers and pay them a minimal salary, but the village must not only build its own school, it must provide housing for the teachers. If the housing is inadequate, teachers have the right to refuse to come. We are presently helping finance the building or two teacher houses, which will enable the village to recruit married couples or single women, thereby increasing the likelihood that they can attract and keep teachers.

 

 

 


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