Gilles de Kerchove and Herman Van Rompuy participated in the immersion trip to Benin

From 7 to 17 March, Gilles de Kerchove, the new president of our Foundation, and Herman Van Rompuy, president of the Advisory Council of our Foundation, visited Benin. Together with Pascale Van Assche, Managing Director, Marc Croonen, Administrator, Marcienne Houenou, Local Director of our Foundation, and the Honorary Consul of Benin in Belgium, Dr. Benoit Akando, they visited our different programmes and projects. They also met with various representatives of Benin’s local, regional and national government and NGO partners. Their support is crucial for the success of our projects.

Here is a short photo report of their visit.

The delegation was received in the audience by Dr. Hounkpatin, Minister of Health, and his Chief of Cabinet, by Mrs. Tognifodé, Minister of Social Affairs and Microfinance, by the Secretary-General and his team of the Ministry of Agriculture, and by Mrs. Mariam Chabi Talata, Vice-President of Benin and her Chief of Cabinet. It was a unique opportunity to meet and take stock of the Foundation’s projects in the different fields.

A visit to the Saint-Martin hospital in Papané – the hospital where Hubi worked as a doctor-director – could not be missing from the schedule. Director Emile Kouthon expressed his sympathy to Pascale with great emotion after her father’s death, “their grandfather Piet”, who had meant a lot to the hospital in Papané. The next stage of the programme was a visit to the king of Tchaourou. Later in the day, the group went to the primary school of Sounon-Boro, where the Foundation’s agronomists, together with the teachers and pupils, created a vegetable garden.

The delegation also visited the laboratory of Professor Ibrahim Toko of the University of Parakou. He leads a research project on aquaponics to which we have contributed funding. Dr. Mama Sisi, the Departmental Director of Health of Borgou, received the Foundation for a discussion on joint projects. Afterwards, the delegation went to the commune of N’dali and visited, together with the mayor, the new community garden project financed by the Foundation and technically supported by its agronomists.

The next stop was the primary school in Boko, where the Foundation installed a well in collaboration with Rotary. In the evening, the delegation was invited to the Archbishop’s house in Parakou, a tradition that continues with each visit. On Saturday, a visit to the training farm in Sokounon was planned. This centre has been a partner of the Foundation since 2015. An irrigation demonstration site with a water tower has been installed, the various breeding programmes have been optimised, dairy goats have been introduced, an office and a shop have been built, and recently the accommodation for the many trainees has been completely renovated.

The trip continued to Kassouala, a village on the border with Nigeria, where several projects are underway: a water well for the school, the sanitary napkin project for young girls, the renovation of the health centre, the construction of a community vegetable garden and workshops on healthy eating.