Together with you we can go further …

and move closer.

I was having difficulties drafting this newsletter - a bit special compared to our usual topics - when I received a brief message from Spain, or from Catalonia (Catalunya) to be precise. The sender thanked me for newsletter 433, The perverse effects of Jatropha cultivation. He simply wrote: Thank you Maurice for having gone out and looked at things on the spot. And for having told us. We have sent out your observations to many people.” A word of thanks (or a reaction) is always gratifying and encouraging.

This short message from Catalonia with its direct reference to the distances I supposedly must travel, helps me to tell you quite simply: “Producing our newsletter, almost every week, comes at a cost. “

It will soon be nearly 10 years since I wrote the first one ( “Too much is too much! ) , which I sent to a few friends, a letter of anger, in reaction to the “giants” of this world, (dwarfs when it comes to the future of our planet), incapable of getting together to tackle the challenges we face.

Famille qui commence à repiquer sa parcelle avec du rizAu Sourou, ces femmes étuveuses de riz montrent fièrement leurs nouveaux vélos...Following that I started to travel across Burkina to meet those who feed the world, the farmers. My first stop was at the rice plains in Bama. I wanted to have pictures illustrating my second newsletter, on international trade and its heavy impact on African farmers, notably those who grow rice.

In order to produce one single newsletter I often have to travel far and wide to meet with an association of women, livestock herdsmen, or peasant farmers or to report from or taking part in an event..

Failing to go out into the field I would not have been able to tell you about the Fulani woman dancing around her new cow.(which we had been able to offer her a few days earlier).

Failing to be present on the spot I would not have witnessed the joy of the women in Nyassan (see picture , left) who were able to buy themselves new bicycles, thanks to their work (parboiling rice).

All this in order to say that “information has a cost”.

Femmes peules qui apprennent à lire en fulfuldeLes femmes réceptionnent le matériel de la laiterieFulani women learning to write in Fulfulde, their native tongue Women checking the various items for their new mini-dairy Must I add that solidarity too has a cost? This should not be necessary, except to inform you of the choice we wish to make for the coming year, and even for the following years:

    1. 1. We would like to continue our support for literacy training among the Fulani communities, in particular the women, and contribute in this way to the integration of Fulani pastoralists into the society at large. Where possible the literacy course will be followed by (rewarded with) the setting up of amini dairy plant, run by Fulani women, who will be organized in a cooperative and signed up for special training.

2.It will be an opportunity to hold joint training seminars with farmers and herders, to open the way for alliances between them and thereby reducing the probability of renewed conflicts.

3. For two years now our office has been running without a computer technician. The need, however, is becoming more pressing. We would in particular need such services to help create a website for rural organizations, like the Federation of livestock herders and pastoralists of Burkina.

In these past years we have been able to do work of this kind thanks to the income from our printing workshop and the generosity of 3-4 readers (among you, the 4 000 on our mailing list).

To enable us to continue the publication of this newsletter, and also to go further … and move nearer those who are looking forward to our visits, I send out a renewed call for your generosity. You will find the necessary details at the bottom of the page “Partage” (What you can do) .

Together we can go further

and with you we can move closer …

Koudougou, December 22nd, 2011
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN

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