Bananas for every woman

Project Bananas – “For every woman a banana tree PCF1B”.

The project is part of the framework programme “Fight against malnutrition”.

Bananas contain vitamin A and calcium, two important components for a balanced nutrition, but this fruit is produced and consumed very little.

The lack of calcium and vitamin A in the Borgou region is explicitly mentioned in a UNICEF report, which shows that up to 50 per cent of Beninese children suffer from chronic malnutrition, making them weak and vulnerable.

A second objective of this project is the improvement of women’s financial autonomy (see UN report:> 75% of Beninese women remain financially dependent on their husbands, thus weak and vulnerable).

Inequality is at the root of poverty and injustice, particularly in rural Benin.

Women are the main target group of this project, which will result in increased empowerment of women. By teaching the processing of banana commodities into derived products (chips and flour), women’s income can increase, thus strengthening their position.

Description of the project:

The Foundation’s two Beninese facilitators and four trainees ensure proper orientation and follow-up of the training program.

In total, more than 10,000 banana cuttings will be distributed.

Women and young people attend training courses on banana cultivation, with technical advice on cultivation, planting, fertilization and care. Then they plant the banana cuttings in their own village.

After the harvest, they make by-products such as banana chips and flour. They use some of it themselves, while others can sell it on the local market. There are specific training courses on budget management and sales.

The Sokounon training farm is an important partner; they have expanded their banana plantation and supply a large volume of cuttings every year. In collaboration with the Foundation’s agronomists and local experts, the Sokounon Centre organizes training courses and serves as a demonstration site. Small banana gardens will be created.

A second partner is the schools that are part of the educational program of the Hubi & Vinciane Foundation and the 2 partner hospitals. In the school and hospital vegetable gardens, the Foundation’s agricultural technicians provide technical advice on planting, fertilization and maintenance. The construction itself is carried out by staff, patients’ families and schoolchildren.

In addition, it is intended that:

  • School staff integrate the usefulness of bananas into nutrition classes
  • Hospital, paediatrics and social workers provide training on bananas as part of the preventive treatment of malnutrition.

In a second phase, the programme will also be introduced at CAMFP, the centre for second chance women’s education. Under the guidance of the Foundation’s agricultural technicians, staff and labourers will build a banana plantation on the site of this centre, where training will then be provided to girls’ and women’s organizations.

By 2019, a total of 7,000 cuttings have already been distributed and more than 5,000 participants have attended the training and received advice at their homes in the villages.

Small banana plantations have already been planted in more than 15 schools, and since 2018, the two partner hospitals have had about 20 banana trees in the garden.

Stad Leuven

For the realization of the “Bananas for every woman” project, the Foundation received an operating grant of 72,325 euros from the City of Leuven, spread over a period of three years (from July 2017 to June 2020).

Also in collaboration with professor and expert in banana growing Rony Swennen, KU Leuven