The Couffo Collaborative

Community | Availability | Livability

FOUNDATIONS FOR WELL-BEING

Community Health Clinic and Counseling Center  

The Collaborative seeks to facilitate access to local health care for community members. For many in Benin, daily living, health, and religion are very intertwined. Local communities have men and women who practice herbal medicine, midwifery, and provide religious and psychological counseling to their communities. Often, when people must travel away from their community to a hospital for themselves or their families, they are cut off from these services. In 2017 a small community center and clinic opened next to the main hospital in the town of Hondjin. With approval from the government hospital, those who must stay in the hospital for extended periods may go next door to the Community Health Clinic and Counseling Center to meet with a specialist and find the familiar care they are accustomed to receiving at home. Although the program is still developing and adjusting, we hope that its success will lead to other ideas and concepts for improving the availability of and access to health care for people in the Couffo Region.

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Organic Farming Training Program  

This new program under development in the town of Hondjin will provide a space for training in organic agricultural techniques. The central Couffo Region is filled with small farms and orange groves. But for many farmers, the only option to sell their harvest is in local markets, where prices are low. Often farmers are not able to make enough to cover the cost of harvest and transport. With little profit made, farmers resort to using cheap insecticides and chemical fertilizers imported from China, and to using the ground under the orange trees to plant other crops-thus diminishing the quality and desirability of both. Many have expressed the desire to not only improve their product but find a means to either process or export their crops.

The plans and goals of this project are to develop organic farming techniques, create demonstration and training programs for local community members, and to create and build methods to help farmers harvest, transport, or process their product.  Since orange trees take time to grow and produce fruit, a pilot project for growing organic tomatoes will be launched to begin developing organic growing techniques and explore means for processing and selling crops.

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