Songhaï Centre: agricultural training for African micro-entrepreneurs

source : United Nations

In Benin, the Songhaï centre works on economic development by training young people on sustainable agriculture using local resources. This specialist centre, which has been operating as an NGO since 1985, has just received the financial support of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). That organisation will co-finance the creation of several Songhaï centres in this small French-speaking African country. The goal is to help young people create their own microenterprises in the areas of agriculture and other biological products. United Nations funding should enable 1,500 young people to be trained over the next five years.

That is what Cybelle Agossu has managed to do, just like Rabi Hinsa, winner of the 2011 Microfinance Awards, who built up a business for making home-made soap. However, unlike her equivalent from Niger, the young woman from Benin was able to borrow the start-up capital, 100,000 CFA francs (around 200 euros) from her family. Rabi Hinsa, whose family was too destitute, obtained a microloan from a Microfinance Institution. In both cases, the micro-entrepreneurs managed to repay their loans and create jobs. Cybelle Agossou already employs four people.

With the training at the Songhaï centres, which is charged for and lasts 18 months, young people can learn the techniques of biological agriculture, agri-food processing and natural resource management. The centres may soon spread to other countries on the African continent.