Côte d’Ivoire

Project title: “Akale Pisciculture / Mesics Ivoire”

Location: 5 ha, near the town of Sikensi, 80 km north of Abidjan

Project Partner: Père Siméon Okrou

p/a U.C.A.O., 08 BP 22, Abidjan
Tel: + 225 224 00 650
Fax: + 225 224 41 593
Cell phone: + 225 05 006 394

Email: okrsim@yahoo.fr

Update 2009

In October Mesics decided to grant partner Father Simeon Okrou € 3100 in order to repair the 8-years old tractor. This tractor was a gift in 2001 of the Dutch Embassy in Abidjan. Part of the philosophy of financial self reliance is the necessity to create reserves for repair and replacements of assets. As to the tractor, this was obviously not the case. Father Okrou is still fully engaged as professor at the University of Abidjan. Therefore he cannot spend enough time to the farm in Sikensi. As a result, the farm is still not yet well developed as trainings-center for young agriculturalists.

Tilapia farming has been abandoned due to the ongoing problem of theft. Fortunately, apart from the repair of the tractor, the farm and magasin seem to be financially self supporting. The women’s group of Souékédi seems to do well with the posho-mill. Father Okrou is promoting women’s groups in two other villages to do the same.

Father Okrou and representatives of KICI discussed during the 3rd Mesics Conference in Bénin to invest in dairy cows and the marketing of second hand clothing. Mesics has advised to both Father Okrou and KICI to consider to do such new investments only after it has become really clear that farm and magasin are fully financially self reliant and that new projects can be started from own, self generated funds.

Background

Originating from Sikensi, Père Okrou started in 1992 the farm on his own plot near Sikensi. As a University Professor at the Université Catholique de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (U.C.A.O.) he desired to create an environment to put theory into practice, and to have an additional income generating activity.

3000 m² of natural tilapia-ponds being one of the essential elements of the farm, Père Okrou approached Fr Jan Heine/Mesics in 1997 for assistance.

Purpose

The purpose of the farm has gradually developed into a centre of production, training and social development, with financial self-reliance as an essential condition. Running costs have to be covered by the proceeds from daily operations, whereas major investments can be sourced from outside.

Operation

The purpose of the farm has gradually developed into a centre of production, training and social development, with financial self-reliance as an essential

condition. Running costs have to be covered by the proceeds from daily operations, whereas major investments can be sourced from outside.

Impact

  • continuous rotation of young apprentices on farm
  • installation of grinding-mill in village
  • education of neighbours, especially in tilapia
  • cooperation with a local agricultural school for traineeships

Evaluation (1998-2006)

The criterion of financial self-reliance seems to be met. In how far the purpose of social development is met is more difficult to measure. The fact that on a regular basis young people work and learn at the farm, and then leave to their own destiny, is positive. Also the cooperation with an agricultural school seems positive. Volunteers from Europe, however, have not worked on the project as of yet. Père Okrou intends to organise women’s and men’s groups in the local parishes of Bécédi and Soukouébi to help them to engage in various activities.

One can ask whether the purpose of social development has been met to a sufficient degree taking into account the level of investments. In this connection Mesics allows itself to have long term perspective, and has committed itself to continue to invest in Mesics Ivoire. Currently plans are being prepared for connecting the farm of Sikensi to the water- and electricity network of the village.