Benin is a predominantly rural country, characterized by the importance of subsistence family farming, which is highly dependent on climatic hazards. The north of the country, where most agricultural and forestry activities are concentrated, is characterized by a Sahelian climate and is experiencing a strong degradation of natural resources (water, soil, biodiversity), as a result of a combination of unsuitable agricultural practices and severe aridification of the climate. The area is also affected by a deforestation phenomenon linked to the continuous increase in demand for firewood and charcoal processing activities.
In this context, peasant farming can no longer support families, the most precarious of which are subject to exodus. Women, who have less education than men, have less access to resources of all kinds, and are the main people responsible for agricultural activities in their families, are particularly vulnerable to this precariousness. Terre & Humanisme (TH) is working to promote the protection of biodiversity and to strengthen women’s food autonomy. In partnership with the local association ORAD (Organisation des Ruraux pour une Agriculture Durable), TH has initiated an agroecology training project for 50 women (a first group of 10 women and then 2 groups of 20) from 10 villages in the Donga department in the northwest of the country. The organization supported them in the installation of vegetable gardens and trained them in the manufacture of improved cooking stoves that use less wood. Following the success of this one-year pilot phase, it would like to renew the project and increase ORAD’s skills in order to ensure its sustainability over time.
Terre & Humanisme was founded in 1994 by people close to Pierre Rabhi to spread agro-ecology with an approach that is both technical and humanistic.