Burkina Faso Posts

Fundraising Their Way to the Top

With today’s official announcement of the America’s Giving Challenge champions, this large-scale experiment enters the annals of fundraising history – having inspired more than 48,000 people to give $1.2 million to their favorite causes and organizations, using social networking and Web 2.0 tools. But at the end, the Challenge was all about tenacity, networking, and good old-fashioned hard work.

Congrats to the GlobalGiving America’s Giving Challenge Champions, each of whom will receive $50,000 for their chosen cause in addition to the money they raised! Their tales of fundraising are amazing. See if you can match the description to the champion!

Michele Martin
, Philadelphia, PA (supported by Beth Kanter): Sharing Foundation/Route Out of Poverty for Cambodian Children (1,650 donations/$41,673 raised).

Erin Kelly, Fredericksburg, VA: Students Helping Honduras/Fuel Efficient stove for 300 Hondurans in need (1,639 donations/$28,796 raised).

Scott Beale
, Wilmington, DE: Atlas Service Corps/Invest in International Development Leaders (1,615 donations/$32,021 raised).

Suzanne Plopper, Chester, CA: Friends of Burkina Faso/Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso (1,598
donations/$41,879 raised).

(A) This University of Mary Washington student entered the competition with only 9 days to go, championing a project that is tackling the fourth-most lethal killer in the developing world…

(B) She mobilized an enormous network of returned Peace Corps volunteers, one of whom even crafted this ditty: Awa had a little lamb / His fleece was filled with fleas / But every year Awa went to school / He paid her fees…

(C) She tirelessly poked, prodded, tweeted, blogged and wiki-ed her cause to the top – not sleeping for the last two days of the Challenge and even inspiring a room service waiter in a hotel she was staying at to give… (read more about her giving exploits).

(D) With his wife, he hosted a feverish, impromptu phone-a-thon on January 30th, generating 400 donations for their cause and pushing them firmly into the winner’s circle.

(answers – A/Erin, C/Michele and Beth; B/Suzanne; D/Scott)

The Amazing Race Goes to Burkina Faso

CBS’ hit show The Amazing Race took a turn toward the developing world the last couple of weeks, when the contestants flew to Burkina Faso (previously “Upper Volta). This season’s crop of teams includes – among others – a grandfather-grandson pairing, a father-daughter test of wills, the requisite “blondes”(although they are not as strong as last seasons’ “blondes”), an African-American set of siblings and, for the first time, a goth couple.

The teams were a little, shall we say, out of their elements. But, after landing in the capital of Ouagadougou (wah – gah- doo- goo),they raced their little hearts out – milking camels, learning 10 words, doing native dancing, panning for gold, delivering stuff by bicycle at a market, and taking lots of taxis to places they could not pronounce.

This was all very entertaining, and I asked my colleague John – who spent several months in Burkina Faso a few years back, “why Burkina?” His answer was quick – it’s safe, and pretty easy to get to, and the people there are super welcoming.” Welcoming – yes indeed, they must now think we Americans are even nuttier than they ever could have imagined. As these teams ran around, there was really no mention of what Burkina Faso is really like:

  • Its population is about 13 million
  • 50% of its residents are Muslim, 30% Christian, and 20% other African religions
  • It is the 27th poorest nation in the world
  • Girls pretty much are excluded from the educational “system” (which is not free)
  • Burkinabes’ literacy rate is only 12%, ranked lowest in the world by the UNDP

Only a couple of the Amazing Race contestants seemed to notice that they were in a place of extreme poverty and stagnation. Well, if any of you are watching, or if CBS wants to be a good corporate citizen, we have some options. One of the most “popular” projects on GlobalGiving makes sure that girls get to go to school, and that they get decent meals while there. More than 365 members of the GlobalGiving community have supported it, and raised $38k+. We only need another $3650 to fully fund it. Now that’d be a cool conclusion to the race:
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