The situation of vulnerable girls mothers and young women in Benin is very alarming.
Indeed, these women, faced early with the realities of adult life in an often deleterious socio-economic context, are a burden on society. Their lives or futures are then very committed as well as those of children born of these early or unwanted pregnancies.
This is the rationale for this project by the NGO FAITH, which has set itself the goal of doing secondary prevention in order to limit the damage.
In developing countries, nearly sixteen million girls aged 15 to 18 and some one million girls under the age of 15 give birth to children each year. The children of these teenage mothers therefore have a higher risk of mortality than children of mothers over the age of 25.
In Benin, the phenomenon of mother daughters is on the rise with two thousand seven hundred and sixty-three (2763) cases of pregnancy for the 2016-2017 academic year, with the Department of Hills leading the way with 1,444 (1472) cases of pregnancy out of 25166 registered girls.
Statistics in rural areas (out-of-school girls) although very unavailable are however more alarming because very early on these girls with barely puberty are pregnant and find themselves alone in the face of their fate since most often the perpetrator of the pregnancy is either himself a teenager without any source of income or a married man who flees his responsibilities and abandons the pregnancy to the parents who themselves barely manage to feed their family. once a day.
According to a recent survey in rural benin, about one in four teenage girls (1/4) is a mother daughter.
The consequences of this tragedy are enormous and of interest to mothers, children, families and logically the entire nation. They are health, socio-economic and even demographic.
Children from these early pregnancies often die before the age of 5 due to lack of care and follow-up. They die suddenly from malnutrition (kwashiokor, slump), severe malaria or diarrhoeal diseases. Those who survive, are either left to their own devices and become street children, delinquents, out-of-school workers, etc. Mothers themselves, unable to play both the role of father and mother, are sometimes forced to engage in prostitution, resulting in STIs and AIDS.
Economically, the shortfall is enormous because they are valid arms that are thus lost. In addition, these girls or adolescents who are victims of school-related pregnancies find themselves forced to drop out of school and are no longer able to continue their training in order to be useful to the nation. Demographically, the inactive segment of the population is growing.
It is all this that justifies this project which has the advantage of acting both downstream and ahead of the phenomenon.
Through IEC sessions on media and social networks, we educate adolescent girls about the dangers of early pregnancy. But our work is essentially based on secondary prevention and is to work towards the progressive empowerment of these vulnerable mother and girls by providing them with a liberal training to cope with the burden of their children.
Since 15 April 2017, the NGO FAITH has launched the YONNU CHIGAN project (literal translation: woman of value), a project that works to empower girls mothers and vulnerable girls by training them in productive agriculture.
Indeed, after a demographic survey in the village of LOGOZOHE (commune of SAVALOU), Department of Hills (Central Benin), we identified a total of 1036 girls mothers and young women in situations of great precariousness.
For the experimental phase, we have recruited thirty (30) women volunteers who meet the above conditions to whom we provide free continuous training.
The training takes place in three stages
1-A theoretical phase that lasts six months or in local languages we provide them with the following modules:
- Vegetable production (cassava cultivation, cereal cultivation, gardening, production of edible champions… etc)
- Animal production (chicken farming, heli-farming… etc)
- Managing the vagaries
These trainings are reinforced by:
- A personal development module,
- IEC courses on hygiene, health, family planning, birth spacing,
- financial management courses.
2- A practical phase where for six months the learners apply in the field (farms, fields,etc.) the theoretical training received. For the landed cause, we have a two-hectare estate where they are practised using the theoretical and practical concepts received.
3- A phase of assistance, follow-up and support that lasts two years and at the end of which these trained young people will be more or less autonomous. It consists of cauterizing these women trained by advice, guidance, material and logistical support until their empowerment.
The choice of pastoral agro is justified because the fact that agriculture and livestock do not require a heavy investment at first, but especially because of profitability because the land does not lie when it is exploited by people trained for.
The availability of land in Benin and especially in the hills is also a justification because thousands of undated areas are available in Benin.
Finally, we work with agricultural engineers, senior agricultural technicians and local producers.