The initiative of Benin’s Jura-Afrique is to set up “Listeners’ clubs” in many locations in the country. The objective is to give a chance to citizens to speak in order to better pinpoint their perspectives regarding environmental issues. The second stage consists of identifying the most appropriate solutions and backing them up.
The activities of the NGO Jura-Afrique are confined in the north of Benin in the departments of Atacora and Donga. Benin’s Jura-Afrique undertakes the initiative of setting up traveling “Listeners’ clubs.” According to the NGO, the project’s objective is to “sustainably involve the local communities in the internalization of issues related to the protection of environment as the first principle of the survival of humanity.”
Give voice to involve
It may seem paradoxical but still…it works. To succeed, Jura-Afrique Benin acts in three stages. The first is to start creating spaces for listening. The project, which currently is underway, counts on the creation of 29 listeners’ clubs in three towns in the region.
The second stage is to involve the residents and incites them to participate in the exchanges. The idea is to give participants the possibility to speak about their own experiences in terms of environmental issues. If the listeners’ clubs are there for participants to talk about issues, they exist to present solutions as well. The third stage consists of identifying local, relevant and especially replicable solutions.
Sensitize adults as well as children
As part of its project, Jura-Afrique Benin did not forget to dedicate a preponderant place to raising awareness among children. The objectives of the NGO also include the creation of 10 school clubs in 10 schools. In another context, the NGO is preparing a competition to award the best environmental poem.
Finally, the NGO is planning to set up school nurseries in establishments where it is active. Jura-Afrique Benin is undertaking 50 campaign of sensitization on planting. Eventually, about 50.000 seedlings will be sown by children.
The “traveling listeners’ clubs” allow opening many citizen sites simultaneously. The school campaigns of sensitization bring another dimension to the project and make of it a simple, innovative, adapted and complete initiative.
Located in the northwest of Benin, the departments of Atacora and Donga are crossed by rivers, the most important of which are the Pendjari flowing into Togo, the Mekrou and the Alibori pouring into a river in Niger. The main economic activities are agriculture characterized by the extensive cultivation of cereals and small trade, especially for the city of Tanguieta. The agricultural practices are of the traditional type with the use of the archaic means for the most part. Yields are low and expose the populations to challenging times sometimes, especially for children. A very large rural exodus affects young people who move to other parts of Benin, Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
The High Commissioner for Water and Forests and Desertification makes of its Forest Resource Conservation and Sustainable Development Strategy a tool to involve beneficiaries in the realization of local development projects and places them at the center of its priorities and concerns. A strategy that is implemented through the conclusion of partnership contracts with forestry cooperatives or economic interest groups around projects aiming at creating conditions of stability and coexistence between the forest and the resident population.
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