When doing nonprofit work, the last thing you expect is to be knighted by your local government — but that’s what happened to a Convoy of Hope team member. Now he has his own regular knight’s tale.
Jules Compaore, National Director for Convoy in Burkina Faso, has worked for Convoy of Hope for three years. Growing up in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, there has been so much change in his life. He is part of why Convoy began programming in the country. In his work with Convoy, Jules communicates with the local government to best serve people.
It was this work that gained him recognition for knighthood, and it started with an unexpected phone call in July. The call came from Burkina’s Minister of Education, who told him he was in the running for “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques” (Knight of the Order of Academic Palms).
This made sense — through his work with Convoy, 13,375 children were fed this year through program centers. Amid conflicts in the country, Convoy’s programming has been implemented in 55 schools that wouldn’t otherwise receive food.
Jules was in shock. After the call, he went back to his meeting, not sure when to tell people. He figured the knighting would happen sometime in December, the recognized independence day in Burkina. But after a call the following Monday, he learned he would be knighted the next day.
Every year in July, the Minister of National Education & Literacy of Burkina Faso recognizes those who have done exceptional work in education. Five were chosen this year to be recognized in the public ceremony.
Jules checked with a friend at the telecommunications office, who confirmed it was real: “Well my friend, it is so true. Get ready.” At this point, he told his family about it.
The Day of the Ceremony
The ceremony brought its own awe and wonder. The government building was packed as Jules and his fellow nominees were called on behalf of the president of Burkina Faso to be knighted. After that, Jules and the priest remained for special recognition.
The priest asked Jules, “Pastor, what have you done?” Jules responded, “Father, I have no idea. Let’s wait and see.”
His knight’s tale came from providing clean water and food to students, as well as helping schools. He returned home with a medal, a certificate, and a new title. He doesn’t introduce himself as “Sir Jules,” but he continues using it on business cards and documents because it’s more than a name.
“Now when I sign a paper or hand someone my business card, my title is under my name. It immediately raises a flag that this person is worth listening to,” Jules said. “That’s a blessing; I don’t deserve this.”
With Burkina Faso’s government continuing to go through changes, his work and name in the country will remain well-trusted, meaning more people can receive help.
“I really believe in the work we do, having a good network is very important,” said Jules. “Being knighted is just helping this.”