Immersed in Benin

Ambassador Jan's immersion trip to Benin is over. He met the people working on our projects there. Relive his journey to Africa's armpit with his photos and videos.

 

"I'll always remember that the lives of these young people there cannot be taken for granted, and that their education is a long-term investment." His visit to our two projects in Benin, Solar Without Borders and Riz du Bénin, Riz de demain, left quite an impression on Jan. One of this first stops in Africa's armpit is Agnes' solar kiosk, close to Natitingou.

First to the north

"Solar Without Borders operates a manufacturing unit of solar lamps in Natitingou, and Collibri Foundation supported its initial set-up. In the meantime, we have built four solar kiosks in the region. Agnes already owned a small shop. She sells a few products there and now combines it with charging the lamps."

"Whether the kiosk is operated by the village in order to help fund it or if there is a manager who is allowed to keep his profit is decided by the village itself. In Douwani there is a manager (on the left in the photo). He mainly has to advertise the kiosk and pays rent to Solar Without Borders. He is allowed to keep the rest, but there is strict monitoring of what comes in."

Through the rice fields

The second part of the trip takes Jan to Glazoué. But travelling in Benin is not always simple... "We mainly travelled in an all-terrain vehicle, but sometimes the roads were too narrow and we had to figure out something else. We did a lot of travelling by foot, through rice fields and past banana plants. But every now and again, like here, it was too far to walk. And then we got to ride on the back of the motorcycle."

In Glazoué Jan visited the cooperative Uniriz-C. They, together with support from Collibri Foundation, give young people the chance to be trained to be a farmer.

"After learning the theory in the Centre Songhai educational centre the young people learn the hands-on practice at training farm Ferme SAIN. Under the watchful eye of director Paul Gbenou they try all sorts of things and, more importantly, are allowed to fail."

 

 

Plans for the future

The education is bearing fruit. "Ten young people have completed the programme and now own their own land. They have not had it easy, and they still face many challenges, as you can see in the video. But they did grab on to the chances they were offered with both hands. Now they have to become ambassadors for their environment: "Look, it's possible to make a life here in our own region." That's what I think is the greatest aspect of this project: Collibri Foundation really invests in the future."

These were only a few photos from Jan's collection. See them all at instagram.com/collibrifoundation. You can also watch more of Collibri Foundation’s videos on YouTube.

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