Securing the Future in Benin
“Before, we carried gourds on our heads to fetch water from the river, to get water by hand…Now we have a reservoir to water our garden. Before, we watered mornings and evenings, but now we water only one hour and it’s all done, even if it’s one single person watering. Solar energy saved us.” – Madame Ganigui Guera, President, Dunkassa Women’s Farming Collective
In 2010, in the Kalalé district of northern Benin, SELF designed and installed three of its Solar Market Gardens™ (SMGs). These innovative solar-powered drip irrigation systems have been operating to help overcome the region’s six-month dry season by pumping water from an underground aquifer to irrigate fruit and vegetable crops. As a result, the gardens have helped Madame Guera lead the Dunkassa Women’s Farming Collective to significantly increase crop production, resulting in the improved food and nutritional intake of the communities living in Kalalé, and an increase in the women farmer’s incomes from the sale of the produce at market.
We are now installing eight new gardens and they are nearly complete – we have finished constructing all of the water reservoirs that will be used to irrigate the fields, installed solar systems at four sites, and have set up panel support structures at the four remaining sites. We expect to finish all of them by the end of the year, and will start planting the fields in early January.
And we are expanding our installations in the region to power a school, a health clinic, and a microenterprise center to further improve the quality of life for 48,000 people living in Kalalé.
With your help, we can ensure the systems for these locations are completed so that the people of Kalalé can continue to improve their health, get a better education, and start small businesses. Please support the people of Kalalé by making your contribution today – THANK YOU!