Benin Update September 2018

Due to the hard work of the team in Benin to clear the fields and plant crops appropriate for feeding the children at the Chez Papa Geoff (CPG) orphanage, they can now offer places to 12 more children at CPG. This will complete the number of children and young people that there are places for. The team were also able to store spare crops of peanuts that can be sold to pay for books, clothes etc. for the orphanage.

The new children and young people have been identified and will be arriving at CPG soon.

The local mosque has built a new well on site and this will provide water for CPG and to support the local community. This will enable the team to have clean water, and they can use the storage tank that is already in place. We hope that this will also help them complete the fitting of the shower rooms and toilets that have been delayed due to the concentration of work on the fields.There were some concerns regarding the number of children in the new intake, but the team local leader stated he was confident that they could manage. It is Dick Wheelock’s and my evaluation that the team are able to cope with this, and this is in line with giving greater autonomy at a local level.

The team are working well and are able to support themselves and the needs of the children and young people. Some work supporting the children’s French language skills, as identified by volunteers from HATW, should be helped by the introduction of a wifi system now running through Affame.

A container with 4 laptops reconditioned by volunteers will be going out to CPG next month. They can then access French language programmes for which the computers are adapted.

Also going in the container are a Nissan 4×4 truck that can be used for taking materials and seeds to the fields (as well as transporting people to clear the land and harvest the crops), tractor parts and a plough to break up hard-packed ground, tables for the children and young people to complete their homework and spare sheets for the children’s beds.

The secondary education support now has a process in place to map the individual children and their results that were very positive in the 2016/17 academic year. There are a lot of issues with teacher strikes this year and as yet we have no idea of the impact on the children’s education or the end of year report cards. We did receive 75% of the report cards at the end of the last academic year. We may also have a problem identifying any young people who may pass the baccalaureat for access to university.

In conclusion the challenges for the team at Chez Papa Geoff’s will be to integrate the new children and young people into the orphanage and to provide the food and cash crops from the fields to move towards self-sustainability.

Dick and I are very happy with the progress the team have made. All the children in CPG have the opportunity to thrive and have access to a good education and live in a supportive community. The funding provided through HATW has enabled this to happen and the increase in the field production will reduce the amount of funding needed to support CPG.

The evaluation of the secondary education programme would support the view that it is a very worthwhile programme, and gives children the opportunity to develop and gain access to higher education and training. We hope to have some form of evaluation for the end of term results over the next few months after the disruption of the strikes that were being held in the last academic year.

The support of Mary volunteering to help the local community with eye tests and glasses was of great help, and a number of patients identified as needing surgery, are currently under investigation and treatment.

Thank you very much for your interest and support.

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Source: Reports

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