SEATTLE — With collaborative efforts, hunger in Benin has slowly dwindled and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from $4.8 billion in 2005 to $8.5 billion in 2016. Numerous organizations strategize methods to continue Benin’s rise in production and food security.
The Hunger Project narrows its focus to each individual village in Benin, calling it the Epicenter Strategy. The idea is that each community can concentrate on its most pressing challenge, like clean drinking water. It also empowers the people in these Benin villages by showing them they can make a difference within their own communities.
In Benin alone, The Hunger Project serves 183 villages and 2017 marked their 20th year of fighting to end hunger in Benin.
The Epicenter Strategy has four phases that work towards making these villages self-reliant and stable within their own communities. A majority of these epicenters, or clusters of villages, are on the third phase — just on the brink of hitting that last phase — while three have already graduated to self-reliance. The self-reliant epicenters display a 72 percent decrease in chronic hunger.
In turn, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) provided farmers in countries like Benin with proper tools and technologies needed for production growth.
In 2015, the SDG spoke with Bernadette Sossou, a vegetable farmer from Grand Popo, Benin, hoping to aid farmers on a more intimate level. She expressed her frustration with the high cost of merely one hectare of land.
The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) responded to Bernadette’s call for help by loaning her 2 million francs, enough for her to purchase 2 hectares of land.
They also provided her with contacts to merchants, enabling her to pay off IFDC’s loan and still make a profit of 6 million francs. As head of her household, this enabled her to feed her six children.
Furthermore, The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has worked with Benin, among 21 other countries, since 2005 to address food insecurity. So far, they have invested $4.3 billion to work towards creating and protecting access to agriculture.
MCC trains Benin farmers in successful agriculture and, in 2012, they provided Benin with various agricultural projects to work on. Their efforts have resulted in market growth, thus reducing the cost of goods.
Among other factors, these efforts to end hunger play a major role in the Benin poverty rate decreasing from 37.2 percent in 2006 to 35.2 percent in 2009. With the collective efforts of these organizations, hunger in Benin has slowly diminished and is expected to continue declining.
– Brianna White