Our week in Benin


Together with Emeline, I spent last week in Cotonou, the largest city and economical capital of Benin. The main purpose of our trip was to conduct an RSR training workshop for Beninese partners of the Dutch WASH Alliance. It was Emeline’s first RSR training course, but as she’s setting up Akvo’s West-Africa hub, many will follow.

It’s lucky that Emeline is used to working in areas where internet connection is a bit challenging because when we began the workshop, we discovered there was a country-wide Internet ­failure. Magically the connection came back just when we started explaining how to write an online project update. We created a local network and all participants succeeded in publishing their first update online. 10017614445_7955972727_b

Above: Judith and Josephine of Dutch Wash Alliance partner BUPDOS practice their ‘really simple video’ interview technique. Top: participants on the RSR training workshop in Cotonou. Photos by Lissy van Noort.

In the afternoon the participants practiced the ‘really simple video’ technique – conducting short video interviews with people to explain what they’re working on. You can watch the results in this playlist. I also interviewed Albert Chabi Eteka, country coordinator of Benin for the Dutch WASH Alliance.

During the rest of our week in Benin, we visited lots of interesting people such as water expert George de Gooijer at the Dutch Embassy. While we were there, we bumped into the Dutch ambassador in the corridor, walking around with his iPad. George told us the ambassador is a fanatic tweeter and he even manages the Facebook account of the Dutch embassy in Benin. Now that’s pretty cool!

We also stopped by at the offices of SNV and UNICEF for some good discussions followed by a stroll on Obama Beach to enjoy the sunset.

We concluded our trip with a meeting with Joseph Hounhouigan, food science and technology professor at Abomey Calavi University and a visit to the Ministries of Water and Sanitation in Cotonou.

I really enjoyed meeting all these different partners and seeing them at work in their environment. Here are some pictures I took in Cotonou. And for all RSR updates from Benin, stay tuned to the Benin WASH Alliance webpage.

Lissy van Noort is a project officer at Akvo.

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