“Young farmers are achieving good results in Benin”

Marie Van Gool truly believes in the importance of education in the African countryside, and all the more so since her work placement in Benin.  In Benin she worked with young farmers who started their own business after an intense agricultural training course. 

Positive impact

In Benin, 30 young farmers have so far been able to take part in a training programme supported by Collibri Foundation. First they receive agricultural training and then they receive support for two years when they start their own business. “It is a lot of hard work, but their businesses are growing and they are achieving great results,” according to Marie, who completed a 6-month work placement in the training project at the Songhaï Centre and the model farm Ferme SAIN as part of her course in international cooperation at UCLL. The project aims to offer young people an alternative to urban migration and to offer them a future in their own environment. 

 

Confidence to start up a business

Marie lived and worked for six months in Glazoué, an area in the Collines district. "My task was to visit the young farmers and assess the impact of the training.” According to Marie, they had not only learned new techniques, but also gained confidence. "They have more faith in the importance of what they are doing. One of them told me of his desire to be involved in proper organic farming, to work towards improvement and growth and to be a role model for the village."

 

 

 

Giving young people a voice

"In Belgium, young people are given opportunities, plus talents are encouraged. This doesn’t happen as much in Benin. Many young people do not have a voice. However, by working together they can help and learn from each other. That is another positive influence of the project.” Marie also feels she has benefited from her time in Benin. “It is wonderful to see how much motivation and pleasure they get from the smallest things. Benin has fewer things to do, but this meant that I slowed down my pace and spent more time with the people around me. As a result, I was accepted into their lives very quickly. Thinking back to that time, I remember their warmth.”

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