The local economy in the region of central Benin is heavily reliant on subsistence farming, including crops such as corn, cashews, peanuts, and cassava. Nearly all families farm at least part-time as a supplemental source of food and income. It is often the families most reliant on farming that encounter the most financial difficulties following fluctuations in crop prices and productivity.
Our perspective is that a children’s health and well-being is directly tied to the economic livelihoods of their families, so we are increasingly our efforts in social enterprise ventures as a method to bring long-term sustainability to our efforts.
Program: Social Enterprise & Business Training
We are excited about the potential of this growing program. We feel that enterprise is a powerful tool in the field of economic development, and that it also has a role to play in improving social conditions. Our goal is to invigorate the local economy by empowering local business leaders, while at the same time providing sustainable sources of revenue for the children’s home and educating the younger generation with job-ready skills to establish a continuous cycle of prosperity.
- Fund entrepreneurial efforts and small businesses that agree to support the work that Dagbé does with children in central Benin.
- Provide business education and technical training that can prepare the next generation of business leaders in the region.
We sponsor vocational training for several children from needy families who are no longer in school to equip them with job-ready skills to launch their own businesses. Our current roster of apprentices includes young men and women from families affected by loss and extreme poverty who attend tailoring and upholstery training programs.
We had success operating a tailoring workshop pilot program several years ago and we currently in the planning phase to expand our current vocational training program to include operations of a training workshop. The professionals running the workshop would commit to providing a percentage of their revenue to the operation of the children’s home, while the children would receive vocational training at the workshop. More
In late 2011, we planted a community garden near our facility. The plot is owned by the children’s home and cultivated by volunteers, staff members, and even the children who desire to be involved. The fruits and vegetables that are grown are used by the center in its cooking, and the garden is used as an example of healthy eating and environmental care for the rest of the community.
In 2011, we launched a poultry farming program to provide a low-cost, additional source of protein to supplement the children’s diets.
This project is currently in the planning phase. Electricity only recently became available in the region, and the demand for business services in the area is growing. The IT Center will provide educational services to the children in town and jobs and business services for the local economy, all while generating revenue that can subsidize the operation of the children’s home.