Berz Gallery of African Art-- Restarting Our Work in West Africa Against Extreme Poverty 2015-2016

From 2003 through 2008, Berz Gallery of African Art took ongoing direct action to help local village communities in Burkina Faso.  In addition to providing financial support through work-based initiatives that catalyzed local economic developmet in Bobo-Dioulasso and further north (near the Malian border), Berz Gallery of African Art used profits from sales and generous contributions from clients to ship necessaries sourced in San Francisco, USA, to local communities in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  

With the help of our staff, clients, and friends both in the USA and in Africa, Berz Gallery of African Art also provided direct, targeted funding assistance in these villages in the area of food security, delivering locally purchased rice to tribal communities suffering from hunger as a result of a lack of rainfall, resulting in a severely delayed harvesting season.  We personally oversaw these projects from start to finish, being physically present from purchase and packing to when food and other assistance were delivered to the villages.

Berz Gallery of African Art is deeply committed to the elimination of extreme poverty in the world.  It is our belief that extreme poverty is entirely avoidable and that through targeted, coordinated efforts we all can work together to improve the lives of our fellow humans, locally and globally.  Much of the strife, pain, and destruction in our world can be traced to early roots in extreme poverty and the injustic and extreme and violent behavior it can inspire. Through targeted, direct action, we have tried to do our part to participate in a small way towards the eradication of extreme poverty, in one specific part of the world in which we can make a significant difference. 

The photos we have included here illustrate some of our efforts.  While certainly far from grand in light of the ongoing great work that millions of people are doing worldwide to combat extreme poverty, each small drop cumulatively can fill a well.

It is now time for us to restart our efforts and take action.  In the years to come, we will devote our efforts to water projects in Burkina Faso, West Africa--by seeding and directly aiding in the installation of fresh water pumps in areas where fresh water is not available to large populations of primarly subsistence farmers.  These are hardworking, noble people who do not want handouts.  As our prior in-country needs assessments have shown, in Burkina Faso alone, a single industrial-sized water pump can bring fresh, clean water to 250,000-500,000 people who currently have no means of securing clean water.  For a very low financial cost but a lot of effort, the consequential impacts are staggering—a single pump with fresh and clean water, an expected and ordinary standard for many of us, will fundamentally change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and provide a catalyst for sustainable improved health, economic development, and other immediate benefits that reward all of us now and in the future.

We will keep all of you informed as to our efforts and encourage you to participate in sustained efforts when you are able, including in your local communities.

Sincerely,

Andrew J. Berz, Berz Gallery of African Art, Winter, 2015