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Where we operate

Benin

(c) Caleb Obed Choucounou

Benin is a small country in West Africa, where the poverty rate is still high despite the economic growth of the last 10 years. In recent years, the north has suffered from prolonged droughts and the south from devastating floods. The main culprits are climate change, urbanisation, deforestation, the destruction of mangroves, and increased demand for water and agricultural land.

Cities and urbanisation have caused water use to triple in recent decades. The original dense forest has declined by more than 50% since 2013. Mangroves that form a natural buffer against erosion and flooding along the coast are being destroyed.

3000 km

Benin has 3000 km of waterways

500 km

The river Ouémé is the longest river at 500 km

Testimonial

Another plus was the training provided on the importance of mangrove forests and setting up tree farms. This way we can further protect and maintain the site in the future.

Samuel Ahouansou, Benin

Join For Water works with its partners on the plains of the Mono and Wémé rivers, both in the south of Benin.

The plains around the Mono with the municipalities of Athiémé and Grand Popo are covered with forest, low vegetation, wetlands and mangroves. The Mono Basin has been recognised by the International Ramsar Convention (1971) on the Conservation of Important Wetlands. The challenges facing the region are huge: over-exploitation of resources, insufficient resources to combat illegal logging or poaching, lack of understanding of environmental and social challenges, and environmental disturbances.

The zones around the Ouémé, with the municipalities of Aguégues, Adjohoun and Dangbo, are more urbanised and cultivated, with plenty of agricultural land for maize and vegetables, and numerous canals for local transport. Wetlands and mangrove areas are located in the southern part of the catchment. This region suffers from flooding, poor agricultural practices and large-scale logging, among other things.

The sustainable management of ecosystems is being hampered by conflicts over land ownership. Wetlands, for example, are officially state property, yet are claimed by private individuals.

 

 

Benin Ouémé rivier kanalen waterhyacint
The canals are overgrown with water hyacinth, which makes transport difficult. (c) Caleb Obed Choucounou

Activities

Better access to ecosystem services, such as water for agriculture, and ecosystem restoration, that’s what it’s all about. Together with partners such as Eco-Bénin, Join For Water focuses on reforestation and agroforestry, planting trees and shrubs on agricultural land. This combination ensures better water management and reduces erosion. The agriculture should guarantee more stable income for the farmers. The inhabitants are helping to remove the rampant water hyacinth in the canals, so that transport through the canals runs more smoothly and fish have sufficient oxygen.

The civil society organisations are trained on rights and obligations so that they can stand up for the protection of freshwater supplies.

At the same time, it is important to build up and spread knowledge: research is needed into, for example, energy from biomass or the ecologically responsible restoration of mangroves. Our partner INSTI is responsible for this research.

 

What preceded

Join For Water has been active in Benin since 1994 and has worked intensively on achieving access to (drinking) water, better hygiene, guiding the municipalities in the construction of the drinking water infrastructure …  This was the case in the departments of Atacora and Alibori in the north, central Donga and the Mono-Couffo region in the south-west.

The emphasis has always been on the sustainable management of the infrastructure. To this end, (drinking water) committees learned to be responsible for maintenance and repair in the event of breakdowns, with the collection of user contributions as an essential component.

Food security was given a lot of attention, with a focus on water for horticultural activities and more efficient irrigation methods.

Several latrines were installed in schools and a lot of effort was put into social marketing to convince families to build family latrines.

Our partners in Benin

Story

Restore the mangrove and everyone will benefit

Mangroves are rich ecosystems, but they are often threatened by logging. In the south of Benin, Join For Water is working on a double track: restoring the mangrove and providing an alternative for the need for wood.

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people helped plant the trees

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Better charcoal production will protect the woods

For those who have no other fuel than wood, there is not much choice but to cut down trees. But you can make sure that you use that wood as efficiently as possible.

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