Local officials and villagers in Sapone show their gratitude to Prosper for the establishment of a well in their village.
Until his return to Burkina Faso, Zongo remains actively involved with the issues in his home country. He continues raising awareness and support for his cause through the Prosper Zongo Foundation for Drinking Water. He founded the nonprofit organization shortly after drilling his first well, and it was made an official entity on Feb. 24, 2017.
“He is an epitome of an active citizen within traditional African understanding of citizenship – one who reinvests the dividends of education in the community,” said Mejai (Mike) Avoseh, Ph.D., a USD professor of educational administration and one of Zongo’s mentors. “He works hard and smart, and is honest; one who puts others before self and commits to peaceful co-existence. As a Fulbrighter he exhibits ‘leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures’ and as a Coyote he is a good representation of our fine ‘liberal arts education and the practice of inclusive excellence.’”
Zongo also attended and presented at the 26th annual Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) from Feb. 17-20, along with more than 300 delegates from 40 different countries.
Harvard University organizes the conference each year, gathering attendees and speakers from the world’s top universities to discuss “the most pressing issues in the Asia-Pacific region,” according to its website. Zongo discovered the conference online and, after reading its attendance requirements, decided to apply.
Three essays, a resume, and a Skype interview later, he was invited to attend the conference and share his ideas regarding the state of water and governance in his home country, and how he plans to improve both. For four days Zongo connected with both young professionals from across the globe and professors from Harvard, Yale and Columbia Universities. Many asked about joining and expanding his efforts but, as the project is in its initial stages, Zongo is waiting until it has taken more hold in his own country before branching into others.
Now back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the recent graduate is seeking work in either political science or with a sustainability-focused organization. Zongo intends to work for one year before attending school again - potentially at Harvard University - for his Ph.D. in political science, with a focus on the African continent.