Espoir Jeunes is anchored in a strong friendship between Switzerland and Burkina Faso
A Burkinabé student in Switzerland
In 2002, the Pasteur Jonas Kambou — current head of Espoir Jeunes Burkina Faso — came to Switzerland for his theology studies. Being an outstanding student in his home country (Burkina Faso), he won an excellence scholarship to spend the last 4 years of his studies in Romandie — the French speaking part of Switzerland. During his time in Switzerland, Jonas learned many things and decided he wanted to bring back home his knowledge to help his country, in particular his hometown Gaoua, Burkina Faso. The regions has many opportunities for future growth, but lacks financial support. At this very same time, the Fondation Espoir Jeunes– a small grass root organization funded by benefactors in Switzerland-was looking for a young leader to head its project in Gaoua. The match was perfect!
Espoir Jeunes' Principles
Education for all: a big challenge for Gaoua’s youth
The key challenge as seen by Jonas and Espoir Jeunes is education. As Gaoua and its surroundings have abundant gold reserves, many children that do not have the means to pay for their education, start working in traditional gold mines as “orpailleurs”. Although this activity does provide them with some money initially, the activity is dangerous, short-lived, and often bars the children from an education, leaving them few opportunities to develop themselves in their adult life.
As such, Espoir Jeune’s first objective is to tackle this problem by providing disadvantaged children with housing, food and education to give them a solid foundation for their future.
Financial sustainability is important for Espoir Jeunes’ long-term success
Espoir Jeunes is a firm believer that financial sustainability is crucial to the long-term success of charities. In this scope, Espoir Jeunes has put together multiple initiatives to ensure that the project is able to partially self-sustain itself from a financial perspective. To meet this objective, Espoir Jeunes has implemented multiple local agricultural projects that provide a steady source of food and revenue for the foundation (for more, see community).
Innovative management models are crucial to ensure Espoir Jeunes can withstand unexpected challenges
Espoirs Jeunes has implemented an innovative management model that distributes the roles and responsibilities among the project’s stakeholders to ensure the organization is set for long-term success.
The main people involved in the management of on-the-ground activities in Burkina Faso include Jonas Kambou as the main coordinator in Gaoua, Martin Da as the student representative, Allassanne Kambou as the employees representative, and Espoir Jeunes’ 4 university student alumni (Isaac, Michel, Francis and Albert) who act as co-coordinators for the overall project and mentors to the children.