History

helpinghand

 

Since 2008, Small RAIN has provided medical services and/or medicine to 10,000 children in rural Burkina Faso, one of the five poorest countries in the world. The mortality rate for children under 5 is very high – 1 in 10 children will die before their fifth birthday. Our goal is to reduce that mortality rate.

Healthcare is a rare and expensive commodity in Burkina Faso. Most of the population lives so far away from local clinics that parents have to walk from 2 to 8 miles – carrying a sick child – to receive care. And most families are too poor to pay for clinic services. If you can’t pay, you don’t receive care – even in critical cases like broken bones or deadly illnesses.

Pilot program

Small RAIN began providing children’s health care through a pilot project in northwest Burkina Faso.

In partnership with Les Ailes de Refuge orphanage in Yako, we built a clinic program for hundreds of orphans. Together, by 2011 we expanded the program to serve 3 orphanages, 2 clinics, 2 schools and hundreds of children referred to us by the government Social Action program.

Next we designed a Mobile Nursing Program , which visited the village of Douré, located beyond the reach of the clinic in Yako. Once a week, the mobile clinic drew mothers and children from Douré and 17 surrounding villages seeking healthcare. In a year it served thousands of sick children.

Our pilot program was a success, and those programs we created continue to provide health care to needy children.

 

Evaluation

As we completed the pilot program, Small RAIN conducted an extensive evaluation of the work so far.

  • We had effectively provided health care and medical resources to thousands of of children.
  • We had developed a strong working relationship with a local NGO.
  • We had worked with a brick-and-mortar clinic and with a mobile clinic model.

 

But in spite of these accomplishments, our goal of consistent, community-based healthcare for rural children was not met through these methods. Children living near the clinic received consistent care, but it is too expensive to build a clinic in every village. Children were healed and lives were saved by the Mobile Nursing Program. But many children became ill – and some even died – between weekly visits. When children are undernourished, diseases like malaria and diarrhea can kill quickly.

We completed our pilot project, and began the process of scaling up healthcare in Burkina Faso villages.

 

Community health care workers

After evaluation and research, Small RAIN decided to restructure its health program to provide 24/7 healthcare for children in rural villages. The most powerful way to provide effective, consistent health care in Burkina’s rural villages  is to train and employ community healthcare workers.

Establishing Small RAIN as a government-authorized Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) – a nonprofit – in Burkina Faso allows us to provide medical care directly to children.

We have built a foundation that includes:

  • A strong, experienced medical team in the US
  • An effective working relationship with the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso
  • A powerful grass-roots connection to the villages where we will be working
  • Clear communication with the local Health District
  • A structure adapted to the local needs within Burkina Faso
  • A competent and professional Burkinabé administrator
  • Mapping 30 villages and evaluating their populations
  • Developing a research program that will allow us to evaluate the effect of our work on a scientific basis
  • Getting that research program approved by officials at the University of New Mexico and the Burkina Faso Committee on Ethical Research
  • Startup funding that will allow us to begin and execute a full year of the  health program in 15 villages


In early 2016, we will open a community health worker program serving 3,000 children under the age of 5. We will work in 15 villages in south-central Burkina Faso, in the district of Tiébélé.

With your support, we can save the lives of many children. We’ll be able to provide health care that allows children to grow to adulthood, and their families to watch them do it!

 

Timeline