Bénin

Project title: Mesics Afrique, a foundation registered according to Béninese law in Cotonou in 2001

Locations:

  • “La Jarre”, a 20 ha spiritual and agricultural complex near Hlagba-Dénou, 120 km north of Cotonou
  • “Résidence Mesics Afrique” and “Domaine Jan Heine”, a guesthouse and garden complex of 2000 m² in Allada, 70 km north of Cotonou.

Project Partner: Père Dorothée Hamaouzo

Grand Séminaire St Gall
BP 15, Ouidah, Bénin
Tel 1: + 229 382 180
Tel 2: + 229 97 05 6628
Fax: +229 21 37 1077

Email 1: dhamaouzo@yahoo.fr

Update 2009

Bénin was in the spotlight of Mesics in 2009 as host of the 3rd Mesics Conference during six days in February.

Partner Father Dorothée Hamaouzo organized a good week, enabling the Dutch and African participants to exchange on policies and priorities. Projects in Bénin and Togo were visited.
Following projects were realized / started:

  • Dental Health unit in hospital of Allada, together with KICI and DHIN.
  • La Jarre:
    • revitalizing the cooperation with Mgr. Assogba with the coming on La Jarre of the first monks of DSR (Disciples du Soir de la Résurrection)
    • planting of teak-trees; 6 of the 12 hectars are now planted
  • Residence and Domaine in Allada continue to be self reliant. End of December the Domaine suffered a major setback: a virus killed in three days 1100 of the 1500 chickens. Possible continuation of chicken raising activities in the Domaine will be decided early 2010.
  • Women’s groups: the cooperation with the first two groups has been successfully completed when the loans were repayed according to schedule. Together with Father Ephrem new projects are under discussion.
  • Suggestions of KICI to organize women’s groups to market second hand clothing from KICI have not yet been followed up by Father Dorothée and Father Ephrem. But both realize the possibility and apparently prepare for the right timing.
  • Volunteers: 5 volunteers from France worked in August / September from the Residence in the hospital of Allada and various orphanages.

The MIVA Foundation funded a new car Toyota Corolla, for Father Dorothée.

Background

Already in 1994, Father Dorothée Hamaouzo started the promotion of small scale tilapia culture within the rural parishes of Sé and Tofo, inspired by a lecture of Fr. Jan Heine visiting Cotonou in 1994. Following up on this work in 1998, Fr. Dorothée and Mesics decided to enlarge the scope of activities from tilapia into model farming.

The farm “La Jarre” was founded near Hlagba-Dénou in 1999. In 2001, Fr. Dorothée and Mesics decided to engage in a second project, the creation of “Résidence Mesics Afrique”, together with the “Domaine Jan Heine”, in Allada.

Both properties were incorporated in 2001 into the Cotonou-registered foundation Mesics Afrique. On the board of this foundation are the two co-founders Father Dorothée Hamaouzo and Dirk Kam, together with the members Father Nymphas Eyebiyi and Mr François-Xavier Paraiso.

 


“La Jarre”

Purpose

La Jarre is a spiritual and agricultural complex. Young people are trained both spiritually and technically. Moreover, La Jarre acts as a regional place for prayer and inspiration.
Financial self-reliance is an important criterion.

 

Operation

Facilities: Chapel, conference hall, residential facilities for approx 15 persons.
Products: Poultry, pigs, aulacoderie, market garden, fruit trees. Labour: 2 permanent staff, varying numbers of part-timers.

Investments by Mesics: pick-up truck, grinding mill, chicken-coop, pig-sty, aulacoderie, tilapia-ponds, borehole, water tank, motorcycle, working capital: total approx. € 100.000,-.

Local contribution: land, all buildings, generator, labour, management and various inputs in cash and kind which are difficult to quantify.
Ownership: Mesics Afrique

Impact

La Jarre has been, and still is, a great learning experience for Mesics Afrique. Both on technical as well as organizational level achievements but also disappointments were realized.

Some five young farmers have started their first jobs on the farm upon leaving their agricultural school, and left enriched after some time to follow their own destiny.

One Dutch student has spent three months as a volunteer on the site; some ten other volunteers from France and Germany have spent some weeks on the site, with the “Residence Mesics Afrique” as their permanent residence.

La Jarre offers an opportunity for those individuals who desire to pursue a harmonious spiritual experience and learn about economic development in a rural environment.

Evaluation

A relatively high level of resources has been committed to La Jarre, both from Mesics and local sources, both in material and immaterial inputs.

It offers a great opportunity for interaction between Europeans and Africans as to ideas on economic, agricultural and sp

iritual development. With all ups and downs, this possibility to interact has been so far decisive for Mesics to continue its commitment for La Jarre.


“Résidence Mesics Afrique” and “Domaine Jan Heine”

Purpose

The “Résidence Mesics Afrique” is conceived as a guesthouse. Most visitors are European students, coming as volunteers to work for several weeks or months on one of the projects of Mesics Afrique in Bénin. Within the framework of a cooperation with two nursing schools in France, each July/August approx. ten French pupils visit Bénin to work in various hospitals/clinics.

Also students from Holland visit Bénin regularly. From out the Résidence they usually work at the orphanage of Allada, and help in the Domaine Jan Heine.

As a general rule, the students pay for their international travel themselves, and offer a contribution for local travel and boarding. Other guests can use the guesthouse for their purposes. Conditons for staying can be requested to Fr. Dorothée.

Domaine Jan Heine is a small agricultural complex of 1000 m2 just opposite the Résidence, with which it forms a natural entity. The Domaine serves two purposes: it enables local young farmers and volunteers to gain practical experience. At the same time, the proceeds of the Domaine help the Résidence to be financially self-reliant.

Operation

Résidence: residential facilities for approx 15 persons.
Domaine: poultry, tilapia, market garden.
Labour: 2 permanent staff, varying member of part-timers.
Investments by Mesics: buildings, ponds, chicken-coops, and working capital: total approx. € 75.000,-.
Local contribution: land, various elements in cash and kind, labour and management. The total is difficult to quantify.

Impact

The infrastructure enables Mesics to receive volunteers and guests and put them to work or simply house them. In doing so, a regular stream of European students have the opportunity to experience in-depth African realities.

 

Evaluation

Mesics considers the function of the Résidence Mesics Afrique and Domaine Jan Heine as creating immeasurable added-value by planting seeds in young European souls, which will sooner o

r later come to fruition for the benefit of Africa and of the individuals concerned.

The name Mesics Afrique for the foundation in Bénin may lead to wrong conclusions. As the operation of Mesics Afrique is restricted to Bénin, the name “Mesics Bénin” would have been more appropriate. However, changing the name of the foundation is not considered to be a priority.