Sunday, 17 July 2011

The tale of two lakes: Lake Ahémé and Nokoué

Last week as I was leaving Cotonou for Rome, I promised myself to spend the weekend and finalize the last blogpost of the Benin series. Despite all my good intentions, I did not quite manage to do so. And back in the office, I literally got swamped and swallowed by a web of meetings, emails, phone calls and process work.

Despite the delay, I sincerely hope that the text that follows recreates my rich experience.

Benin’s fisheries landscape
Benin has a coastline of 121 kilometres stretching from Togo To Nigeria and an exclusive economic zone1 of approximately 27,750 km2.

Fishers community living on the riversides, coastal lagoons and lakes primarily practice inland fishing using pirogues. Pirogues are small boats designed in such a way that they can be used in shallow waters and can easily be turned over to drain water that may get on board. Typically, artisanal fishers use paddles, sails and in some cases outboard engines on their pirogues.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Benin’s maritime artisanal fishing fleet is composed of 825 pirogues, more than half operating without an engine and 52,540 pirogue are used for mainland fishing.

The country’s fishing sector is faced with challenges such as a decreasing fish stock due to over exploitation and soil erosion which has led to degradation of water bodies.

To overcome these challenges and others, the IFAD-funded Participatory Artisanal Fisheries Development Support Programme, better known as PADPPA through its activities:

  • put in place numerous spawning beds and acadja or “fish ambush trap” enclosures
  • undertook reforestation efforts to restore vegetation and reduce soil erosion
  • provided pirogues to crab collectors
  • equipped women fish wholesalers with iceboxes and improved Chorkhor ovens for smoking fish

A typical day for an artisanal fishers such as Ambroise Zounon begins at 5 in the morning when he set out for the lagoon in his pirogue.

Zounon has a fleet of seven pirogues and uses the acadjas for fishing. Thanks to the training received from PADPPA, he has managed to diversify his activities. He not only earns from his fisheries activities, but is also practicing pig farming and rents out his pirogues to other fishers.

“The fish stock in our lake was almost completely depleted”, says Zounon. “Thanks to PADPPA’s efforts, we now have the spawning beds in this lagoon”.

“Acadjas is a traditional fishing technique which provides a substrata of plants and animals and help to enhance fish production”, explains Zounon. “The spawning beds, on the other hand, are underwater solid surface used to increase the fish stock.”

These different methods have allowed Zounon and the other fishers in village of Houinta in Porto-Novo to have a relatively flourishing fishing business which in turn provides income generating opportunities for the women of their community.

Power women
The clear division of labour in Benin’s fishing practices is quite impressive. For example, fishing crabs and selling fish are exclusively a woman’s job. This is why whenever you visit a fish market in Benin, you can be sure to be greeted by a cheerful and colourful army of “mareyeuses” - women fish wholesalers. I challenge you to find a male fish wholesaler in the entire country!

The mareyeuses activities is not only limited on land. Even if you venture on a lake or lagoon where men are fishing in the spawn beds or acadjas enclosures, you’ll find the “mareyeuses” on their boats, buying fish from the men and selling it there and then.

Eugenie Bocovou is the president of a mareyeuses association which has over 8,000 members. She, like other members of the association, buys her fish directly from the fishers on the lake.

“I leave the house early in the morning for the lagoon, where about twenty men fish in the spawning beds and the acadja implemented by PADPPA”, explains Bocovou.

“I buy fish from them and sell it directly on the lake and what ever is left, I’ll bring it back to shore and sell it at the local market”.

The mareyeuses not always have storage facilities, such as iceboxes on board of their pirogues. Lack of adequate storage facility, combined with the lack of processing culture, are amongst the many challenges of women fish wholesalers.

One of the many new frontiers for Benin’s fishing sector and especially for the mareyeuses is the processing industry. You hardly find anyone employed in cutting, scaling and storage business. In fact, this is an underdeveloped sector.

To overcome these challenges, PADPPA has been providing iceboxes to the mareyeuses and has equipped certain communities with fish smoking facilities.

Smoking and frying fish are practically the only processing techniques practiced by the mareyeuses. And unfortunately, modern smoking techniques are not quite widespread in Benin.

Women still use firewood and rudimentary ovens. This means there is a high incidence of respiratory and eye diseases among women. Furthermore, smoking fish is practiced in less than hygienic conditions.

Recognizing the benefits of smoked fish such as longer shelf life and enhanced flavour, PADPPA provided mareyeuses such as Afi Lea Amoussou one of the 12 environmental friendly and clean smoking unit - known as chorkhor ovens.

“Thanks to these new ovens, I have better quality of smoked fish because the smoke circulates better and this way the entire fish is smoked. This improved quality means I have better business, I have reduced significantly health hazards associated with smoke inhalation, burns and my eyes do not tear as they used to before”, says Amoussou with a smile.

“I manage to sell my smoked fish anywhere from CFA12,000 to CFA25,000”.

“We love these ovens, because they do not cost too much to build, I can smoke much more fish, they are easy to use, the firebox is very accessible and I have significantly reduced the consumption of fire wood, which means we have to cut less trees and I do not have to spend a lot of time collecting firewood so I can do other things”, explains Amoussou with an ear to ear smile.

Amoussou, Bocovou and other mareyeuses are now running successful businesses and as a result have gained a social status within their communities.

It is common knowledge that there are no limits to women’s inventiveness and creativity and the mareyeuses are no exception. Their next frontier is to expand their processing business and to enter the export business, something that Albertine Fanounonsi is successfully practicing.

No crab mentality in Benin!
Crab fishing is another source of income for women fishers in Benin. Pierrette Medeho is one of the women crab collectors who lives in the village of Dohi in Comé district on Lake Ahémé.

PADPPA provided capacity building to this crab collecting community and equipped the women crab fishers with seven pirogues.

“Before we had our own boats, we used to take our husband’s boat when they were not using them and if we had a bit of money, we used to rent them”, says Medeho.

“Now that we have our own boat, during crab fishing season we are able to go out every day.”

“Collecting crab is a tough job. I go out with five other women”, explains Medeho. “We leave the house at 5 in the morning and if the weather is good, we stay out until 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon”.

On a good day, the women manage to come back with four to five baskets of crab each. And when they come back to shore, they have Albertine Fanounonsi waiting for them who buys their entire catch.

Medeho and her four campions use the money from their crab sale to send their children to school, contribute to the household expenses and they put aside the money they used to pay for rent for a rainy day.

Fanounonsi who is one of their main customers runs a thriving “crab export” business to Togo. She has devised a sophisticated delivery system in some ways similar to dabbawalla - the Mumbai lunchbox boys.

She buys a small basket for 1,000CFA and transfers the contents of eight small baskets in a big one. Fanounonsi’s crab baskets carry her brand which is her business trademark.

The crabs travel for two hours on road and then a boat takes them Togo. Someone on the other side picks up her baskets and sells them for her. Amazingly enough, thanks to the branded baskets which act like a bar code on a DHL package or a luggage tag, just like the dabbawalla lunchboxes in Mumbai, Fanounonsi crabs never go astray!

Fanounonsi visits Togo once a week to cash the money from the crab sale. On average she manages to sell one of her branded baskets between 9000-12,000CFA.

These women crab fishers collect crab, but as you can see they not have a “crab mentality”. For those who may not know what a crab mentality is - it is a metaphor describing how when crabs are put in a basket, they grab at each other and by pulling each other down, they prevent any of them from escaping.

There is a lot to learn from the women crab fishers of Dohi village. Their total lack of a crab mentality has allowed the community as a whole to thrive and prosper, with Fanounonsi running a thriving export business and Medeho and her companions running an equally flourshing crab collecting business.

The next logical step for industrious and intelligent women like Fanounonsi is to seriously consider adding value to her business by embracing processing and packing techniques and setting up a global crab export business!

Meet the people of Ganvie: Living on water
One of the last sites that my mentor Daouda Aliou wanted me to visit on this extraordinary trip, was lake village of Ganvie.

Ganvie is located in Lake Nokoué not too far away from Cotonou. It has a population of around 40,000 people, with 3,000 stilted houses spread out in 11 villages.

Ganvie village dates back to 17th century when the Tofinu people to escape slavery and the wrath of the Fon warriors - whose religion did not allow them to enter water - settled in this lake village.

It lies several kilometers from the shore. To avoid continuous trips to the shore, the inhabitants have organized themselves in such a way that they are completely self-sufficient. The floating markets, similar to those of Thailand, Viet Nam and Indonesia, sell fish, vegetables and fruits and acts like a social hub.

The villagers of Ganvie may have no running water or electricity, but almost all of them have a cellphone. While it is true that the main income generating activity on the lake is fishing, however, as you move around in pirogues on the lake, you’ll come across villagers selling cellphone airtime from their floating houses or running a thriving business of recharging cellphones for 100CFA. I wonder how long it took the “recharge votre portable” gentleman to pay for his generator - which incidentally is the only one on the entire lake!

Thanks to PADPPA, the artisanal fishers in Ganvie are using acadjas technique which is helping the polluted lake to restore some of its biodiversity and increase the available fish stock.

PADPPA has also introduced alternative income generating activities such as rabbit farming on this extraordinary lake village.

“What we really liked about the PADPPA approach was the fact that they listened to and understood our needs”, says BlandineKossou, the President of the rabbit farming association.

“We had our share of challenges with the villagers, as they thought that PADPPA was here to give them money and handouts”.

“The villagers who understood the scope of the programme and embraced the various activities such as fishing and rabbit farming today have a secure income”, explains Kossou.

“For example, we are able to sell our fish at the market for an average of 10,000CFA per basket and our rabbits between 4,000-5,000 CFA.”

The rabbit farming association has taken all of this one step further and ever month is putting aside 10,000CFA which is used to buy feed, repair or buy new rabbit cages.

“We could further expand our business and increase our income if we could get a loan, but you know having access to credit is not easy”, concludes Kossou.

“It is within this context that IFAD’s next interventions in Benin amongst other things will also focus on rural finance. This will hopefully allow people like Amoussou, Mensah and Kossou to finally have access to credit and be able to expand their businesses and turn their dreams into reality”, says Ndaya Beltchika, IFAD’s country programme manager for Benin.

On a personal note
I want to close this blogpost with thanking all the extraordinary people who I had the privilege of meeting on this mission. And they are:

Paul Allognon, Rose Mensah, Kuassi Oke, Vincent Deyo, Afi Lea Amoussou, Raphael Tokpowanou, Eugenie Bocovou, Ambroise Zounon, Augustin Amoussougbo, Pierrette Medeho, Albertine Fanounonsi, Blandine Kossou, Julienne Ebleou, Brigitte Bonou, Hounkanrin Vincent, Afomasse T, Mesmin, Richicatau Sale, Aglinglo A. Crespin, Gérard Gnakadja and, Daouda Aliou.

Thank you for your time, for you generosity and for your honesty. Thank you for sharing your stories, achievements, successes, challenges, aspirations and hopes. And I hope I’ve managed to share a sliver of your rich and inspiring stories.

Bonne chance for all your future endeavours and I hope our paths will cross in the near future.

Read more from the PADPPA series:

1/ Exclusive economic zone is an area of coastal water and seabed within a certain distance of a country's coastline, to which the country claims exclusive rights for fishing, drilling, and other economic activities.

This blogpost originally featured a a series on IFAD social reporting blog.

Learn, adjust and aim high

We’re about to wrap up the Benin mission. Before leaving, I need to thank Daouda Aliou, the Fisheries and Environment Specialist of IFAD-funded Participatory Artisanal Fisheries Development Support Programme (PADPPA), who was my guide and mentor for the last three days.

I had the pleasure of spending three days with Aliou and have learnt so much from him. He took me to many project sites, and introduced me to some extraordinary people who had benefitted from PADPPA.

This morning I asked Aliou to share his views on PADPPA’s achievements and challenges. Here is what he had to say.

The good, the bad and the ugly aspects of PADPP
I think I am safe to say that there is unanimous agreement that PADPPA was the first ever project in Benin that focused exclusively on artisanal fishers, their livelihoods and their communities. It was also the first ever project that provided them capacity building on how to better manage their fisheries resources and helped to rehabilitate the wetlands and other water bodies.

Given the ever declining fish stock and the competition over fishing resources, it was the first ever project that endeavoured to provide artisanal fishers with alternative income generating activities. And where it managed to do so, it was very successful. A case in point is Paul Allognon, the fisher who became a farmer.

While it is true that changing people’s mindset is perhaps one of the most difficult things in the world, however, there was consensus that in retrospect, to change the fishers’ mindset and encourage them to embrace agriculture-related activities such as horticulture, rabbit or pig farming, PADPPA could have mounted a more aggressive awareness raising campaign.

Reflecting on PADPPA’s achievements, Olivier Vigan, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries observed: “Only if we could have changed the mindset of many more fishers, that would have made this programme a success”. “In retrospect, we should have had many more awareness building programmes and prepared the fishers psychologically to convert from fishing to other activities”.

Echoing Mr Vigan, Aglinglo Crespin, responsible officer for rationalization of the fisheries subsector component, said: “We could have done a better job if we had managed to change more mindsets. At the same time I guess if we had spend a bit more time on the ground and monitored more closely the various activities, we could have really made a dent and converted many more fishers”.

As the first ever project focusing on the welfare of artisanal fishers, PADPPA launched a safety and security programme. “We go proud of the programme’s activities in the area of safety and security”, says Richicatau Sale, responsible officer for the institutional capacity component. “Thanks to PADPPA’s efforts and our partnership with the military marine, we trained fishers on safety and security measures. Today, the fishers know how to avoid colliding with other boats, what to do in case their nets get damaged or their boat capsizes or the engine explodes. As a result causalities have declined by 50%”.

“We’ve also observed that fishers are no longer going out alone, but in pairs if not more and all of them have a mobile phone, this way, when in danger they are just one phone call away to ask for help”, concludes Sale.

Another feather in PADPPA’s hat is the literacy, reproductive health, hygiene and sanitation trainings and awareness building campaigns. A very proud Sale shares how when the women who received reproductive health training, asked that the same training be extended to their husbands.

But as Aliou put it so well this morning, “we could have had better impact if we had first sensitized the men on reproductive health issues.” And he is so right. You always need to start at the source!

The literacy programme offered by PADPPA has definitely helped many poor rural people, fishers and producers to manage their income and resources more efficiently. Those who attended the various sessions, are now able to read, write and keep track of their income generating activities.

PADPPA’s community-driven development (CDD) aspect helped the programme to better understand the needs of the people it was serving. Did it do an equally good job in making sure that the communities also understood what was their role in the equation?

Well, maybe not quite. It seems that not everyone - and here we’re talking about beneficiaries, extension workers, programme and government colleagues - fully appreciated CDD’s fundamental pillar of giving control over planning decisions and investment to communities and local government.

PADPPA also focused on rehabilitating wetlands, water bodies and engaged in reforestation activities. Amongst other things, it financed the creation of a number of spawning beds, which are allowing fishers to count on secure catch. “I believe that thanks to PADPPA activities, we’ve managed to lay the foundation of a national fisheries policy for Benin”, says Afomasse T. Mesmin, the officer for the wetland management component.

In terms of project management, the programme could have benefitted from a more efficient and effective administrative and financial management team. This weakness ended up hampering implementation, causing unnecessary delays in the provision of services to beneficiaries.

The programme witnessed a turning point in 2009 when IFAD started to provide implementation support and directly supervise its activities. I wonder how things would have panned out if we had provided implementation support and directly supervised this programme from the beginning.

What came out loud and clear
Here are my take-home messages and I am sure none of these are new to anyone. I just wonder, why is it that we do not systematically apply the learning from one programme to another.... I guess that is a whole other debate.

  • for a project to be sustainable, the beneficiaries and their communities need to own it
  • do not underestimate the value of exchange visits. Seeing is believing and there is nothing better than hearing from a peer how a rural development activity has changed their lives
  • changing people’s mindset and behaviours does not happen overnight. It requires systematic and sustained coaching, mentoring and awareness raising
  • it is absolutely crucial for everyone on the project team to have a common understanding of what the project is set to achieve
  • it is equally important for everyone on the team to understand their respective roles and responsibilities, know what is expected from them and be accountable for delivering results
  • efficient and effective administrative and financial management is key to good project management
  • sound monitoring and evaluation mechanism allows the project team to detect challenges early on and address these promptly
  • project coordination unit staff need to be rooted and grounded in the field, in touch with the reality on the ground and systematically provide backstopping

What next?
Many of the people who benefitted from PADPPA indicated access to credit as an enormous challenge. Lea Afi Amoussou, a farmer in the village of Nicou-condji in Grand-Popo shared her plight of getting a loan: “I went to ask for credit. Completed all the forms and submitted them. A month after submitting, I followed-up and was told to come back. When I went back, they just told me I cannot have the loan and did not offer any explanation”. Rose Mensah the successful rabbit farmer wanted to get a loan to build a new rabbit pen and was faced with the same obstacle as Amoussou.

IFAD in close cooperation with the Government of Benin is in the process of finalizing the results-based country strategic opportunities programme which will guide IFAD’s intervention in the country for the next five years. It is within this context that IFAD’s next interventions in Benin amongst other things will also focus on rural finance. This will hopefully allow people like Amoussou and Mensah to finally have access to credit and be able to expand their businesses and turn their dreams into reality.

In a couple of hours time I will be catching my flight back home. I am leaving Benin with a heavy heart. It was such an amazing mission. It was a treat to work with great people such as Daouda Aliou and his colleagues. I am ever so grateful to Ndaya Beltchika for giving me this opportunity. It was a great learning experience and I hope I met her expectations.

I still have to tell the stories of the fishers, crab collectors and my humbly experience when I visited the lake village of Ganvie. So, keep an eye on this space.  I am leaving behind the “Centre de miracle”, but hope to share and transmit all the positive vibes I got to my colleagues in Rome.

This blogpost originally featured a a series on IFAD social reporting blog

Once a fisher always a fisher? Maybe not...

WOW, I had one of the most productive days in a long time. It was a day with no meetings, no emails, no phone calls, no deadlines and no process work. Wondering why it was so productive?

Well, I had the privilege of spending an entire day meeting and listening to the stories of smallholder producers who benefitted from the IFAD-funded Participatory Artisanal Fisheries Development Support Programme, better known as PADPPA.

Ndaya Beltchika, was appointed as the country programme manager for Benin in 2010. In closing PADPPA she took the bold step of documenting the success and challenges of this programme so that others could avoid making the same mistakes and reinventing the wheel.

Kudos to Beltchika, as she is a true knowledge worker and one of the few people I’ve worked with who fully appreciates the power and potential of learning both from successes and failures.

I think it is fair to say that PADPPA has both impressive achievements and faced massive challenges.

It was approved in 2003 and has a 50-50 cofinancing arrangement with African Development Fund (AfDF).

It took over two years before it started its operations in 2005. For the first four years it only disbursed 10.13%, which classifies it as a poor-performing project.

“One of the major challenges of PADPPA was the 50-50 cofinancing arrangements between AfDF and IFAD”, says Gerard Gnakadja, the National Coordinator. “If I had to redo the project, I would strongly recommend against such an arrangement and would have each donor fully finance a component thus making implementation more efficient and effective.”

The turning point was in 2009, when IFAD started supervising its own projects and providing direct implementation support. As a result, literally overnight there was a boast in the project activities and in just a little more than two years the disbursement rate increased from 20.47% to 50.53%.

The programme is coming to and end. Over the last eight years, it has focused on strengthening the fisheries sector in Benin by:

  • rehabilitating wetlands and lakes to increase fishing opportunities
  • strengthening fisher’s community and building their capacity to better manage the fisheries resources and other natural resources
  • encouraging fishers to take up alternative income generating activities

My productive day started with meeting three extraordinary smallholder producers who had given up fishing for other types of income generating activities.

Agriculture is cool: Meet Paul Allognon, the fisher who became a farmer

Paul Allognon, once a fisher, today thanks to the programme is a successful smallholder farmer. He is one of the 200 fishers who received training on agriculture-related activities offered by the Vice-President of the Agricultural Chamber, Adjehoda Amoussou, and his colleagues.

“Usually these training sessions last between 15 to 30 days and afterwords, the project provides extension services and monitors the farmers to make sure they apply what they learnt”, explains Amoussou. “However, the PADPPA trainees benefitted from an abridged version of the training and from what I understand not all of them received the post training backstopping”.

Although Allognon did not benefit from the full training programme, however, he learnt the basic agricultural practices such as rotating crops, when to plant what, when and how to use fertilizer, when to harvest and how and where to market and sell his produce. Understanding the importance of a good irrigation system, he installed a water pump and has a CFA350,0001 irrigation system on his land.

As a result, Allognon is now cultivating onions, tomatoes, pepper, parsley and cucumber.

“The village ladies visited me a couple of weeks ago and asked for onions. This is why we’re planting them now”, explains Allognon. “I plant based on needs, this way, I hardly ever have any surplus.”

On this farm, Allognon has a number of coconut palm trees which are another source of income. “I sell the coconut oil for CFA500 per litre. Every three months on average I manage to produced 120 litres of oil”, mentions Allognon.

“I dry the shell which is then used as firewood. The shell is also on high demand by the ladies who are in fish smoking business and also as animal feed”, says Allognon with a smile.

By embracing agriculture, Allognon has managed to triple his income. He is now able to offer employment to six other people and can afford paying them CFA15,000 per month.

“I would never go back to fishing. Believe me, fishing is not worthwhile. You go out to the sea at crack of dawn, stay out 3-5 days or if you make day trips, you come back at dusk and with what? What a basket full of small fish”, remarks Allognon.

Thanks to a steady income, Allognon is able to send all his 9 and 4 year old children to school. He has managed to buy an 2000 m2land, and is in the process of building a house for his family.

Reflecting on PADPPA’s achievements, Olivier Vigan, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries observed: “Only if we could have changed the mindset of many more fishers, that would have made this programme a success”. “In retrospect, we should have had many more awareness building programmes and prepared the fishers psychologically to convert from fishing to other acitivities”.

I wish, the programme would have used people like Paul Allognon as mentors to show the benefits of embracing agriculture and engaging in agriculture-related projects. And yes, more awareness building and proactive actions to change the fisher’s mindset would have definitely resulted in many more fishers converting to agriculture, rabbit farming or other income generating activities.

Rabbit farming: a viable alternative to fishing

On this very special day, after meeting Paul Allognon, I met Rose Mensah and Kuassi Oke, two former fishers who are now fully emerged and engaged with rabbit farming.

Mensah lives by Aeheme lake where she used to be a fish wholesaler. However, the lake’s fish stock has depleted significantly, thus making fishing a risky business. Mensah was lucky to benefit from PADPPA’s rabbit farming activities. In 2007, PADPPA gave her three female and 1 male rabbit.

In a month’s time she had 18 rabbits and ever since then, it has been a growing business. Today she has over 200 rabbits and can count on a steady flow of 30 rabbits per month.

Thanks to her new activity, she has 20 fixed clients - among which some hotels in Cotonou. On average she makes CFA100,000 a month.

“I sell the rabbits for CFA3000. Thanks to the money I make from my rabbit farm, not only I am able to feed the family, send the children to school, but I am also able to put aside at least CFA10,000 a month”, explains Mensah.

Mensah’s vision is to be able to build another big rabbit pen. “But to do that I need one million CFA and I need to able to get a loan. And that is not an easy thing to do.”

Kuassi Oke, a 55 year old rabbit farmer, has an equally thriving farm as Mensah’s. He too in 2007 received 3 females and 1 male and ever since then, he’s gone from success to success.

Oke is a real businessman. To ensure that he has a steady stock, he has put in a place a bullet proof reproduction scheme. “I have 25 females. Each month I have half of them reproduce. This way, the females get a rest every other month and on average I have 115 new rabbits.”

He manages to sell 50 rabbits a month to clients in major cities, hotel owners and in to people in his village. As a true businessman, he has fixed price - CFA3000 per rabbit - and does not provide any preferential treatment to his fellow villagers!

Thanks to his new activity, he is able to provide a good life to his 19 children, three wives and has a monthly saving of CFA40,000. Realizing that not everyone has been lucky as him, to help others, he has created a village saving scheme where on a monthly basis he deposits some of his savings which is used to assist villagers in moments of dire need.

Initially the villagers were a bit intrigued and suspicious of his activity. But, today, thanks to his flourishing business, he has earned a social status. He is now providing rabbit farming training to interested villagers and is the adviser to the village chief.

He has put in place a succession plan by training two of his sons which will take over from him, when and if he decides to retire!

Oke has expanded his business to poultry and is looking forward to be able to buy himself a motorcycle.

New frontiers for rabbit farming: Processing and packaging

One would hope that sooner rather than later Mensah and Oke will learn how to add value to their rabbit farming business by embracing some processing activities. Hopefully, they will be able to access credit, challenging as it may be, so that they can acquire the necessary skills and set up the infrastructure needed for processing, packing and selling rabbit meat.

It would have been nice if PADPPA had seized this opportunity and offered these sterling entrepreneurs the opportunity to add value to their rabbit farm by exposing them to the processing and packaging world.

Keeping close to “Centre de miracle”

As we were driving back, I thought to myself, WOW, what a great day. Would it be possible to replicate this miracle every day? I guess if I keep close to this “Centre de miracle”, I will have a good chance of experiencing it over and over again.

I wonder what will my boss think, if I call or send an email telling her that I have found a new vocation and do not want to leave?

I’ll be covering the story of fishers on the next series of PADPPA blogposts. So, keep on eye on this space. More to come. For now, goodbye and good night.

This blogpost originally featured a a series on IFAD social reporting blog