Interview of Maximin Djondo, BEES
Maximin, can you present us your organization and give us some information about its main achievements?
BEES, which stands for Benin Environment and Education Society, is an officially recognized NGO in 2009 that aims to implement local development programs based on the sustainable use of biodiversity in Benin. To this end, the NGO worked to protect the endemic subspecies of the Red-bellied Monkey (Cercopithecus erythrogaster) through the implementation of ecotourism circuits managed by the communities. Also, the organization is developing a project called “Bird Route of Benin” which aims at setting up ornithological circuits. At the sub-regional level, our organization works to integrate the ecosystem-based adaptation approach into national development policies.
Your organization has just received an PPI grant. What are the objectives of this project?
The low delta of Ouémé or the “Grand Nokoué” complex of the RAMSAR 1018 site is the largest wetland complex in Benin in terms of biological diversity. However, unsustainable natural resource exploitation practices by a continuously growing population pose a major risk to the integrity of the complex and the ecological services provided. The project to support the creation of the Grand Nokoué Intercommunal Reserve aims to strengthen the preservation of the territorial integrity of the reserve. Thus, it is planned to put in place more inclusive and participative governance mechanisms. Also, the effectiveness of the management of the reserve will be strengthened and the ecotourism offer improved.
In your opinion, what levers should be used to engage a multiplier effect of the good practices promoted in your interventions?
The appropriatation of project achievements by communities is one of the keys to the sustainability and the wide dissemination of good practices. Our organization therefore works to make beneficiaries of our projects the actors of the desired changes. These promoted leaders will be able to train their pairs and to disseminate locally developed solutions. It is also important that organizations develop a communication strategy that is another effective means of promoting results and visibility.
What are your perspectives for the sustainability of achievements on the field?
The capacity building of the actors involved in the project is a guarantee of empowerment of actors but also a guarantee of sustainability. Also, the possibility of creating green jobs and additional income is an excellent motivation that can support the appropriation of the project by the beneficiaries. Similarly, we hope to raise additional funding to address the issue of conservation of reserve resources in an integrated manner.