Posted by G van Rij on Aug 15, 2021


Our Program for August 15th, 2021
My 3rd trip to Benin: Community Service the Rotary Way



My 3rd trip to Benin: Community Service the Rotary Way
Dominique Radanyi our member presents this program

The following was written by Dominique:

My first trip in 2019 lasted one week. I came to meet the partners and cultural actors of Benin with Lorentus Houedote, the president of the association we had just created, and launch it formally in Allada (department of the Atlantic). Our association is called Asán Ogàn and is both cultural and educational. 

My second trip lasted 3 weeks. We resumed talks with people in charge of cultural activities and education. I got lots of information about life in Western Africa: relationships between men and women, religion (both Christian and native), the different languages (French is taught at school but not spoken at home), cultural traditions (music and dance) and also about contemporary art with the artists we sponsor. 

This year I stayed for 6 weeks and there was a major change for my activities: I was now a Rotarian! I was kindly invited to a meeting of the Rotary club de Cotonou Locomotive Ganhi we had invited to one of our fellowship meetings. I first met Clémence Deguenon, the President, and we talked about their activities. Then I went to the meeting. I realized through our exchanges that education and the welfare of children was a key concern for all of the members. Here is the link to their Facebook page:

You can either follow the video and listen to Dominique’s third experience the Rotary way, or you can continue to read on and learn what other Rotarians in that part in the world are concerned about in their communities. (If for some reason you cannot see the video, please click here).

Then we went to visit the orphanage they had spoken of during the meeting with our club and I met the children and the Catholic nun who created the orphanage. The president of Asán Ogàn was also present and we decided to organize something for the orphans. The Rotary club would bring the children to Allada and our president would tell the story of this historical city and arrange an audience for them with the queen. Then they would be offered refreshments in our cultural center before going back to Cotonou.

This is one project we have with the Rotary club. We also offered to bring food and hygiene products to the orphans and we are currently seeking funding for this. We formally opened our cultural center on May 1st with the Mayor, some of his counselors and local guests of importance. Members of the Rotary also answered our invitation and came. We discussed the possibility to organize activities there.The president for 2021-2022, Lionel M’Boueké, is okay to work with us.

The president of a newly created Rotaract club, Cotonou United, called Midokpé Frédéric Couton, also came. I was invited to one of their meetings because our president was about to join the club. I had strongly urged him to do so. He later went to a rally of several Rotaract clubs in the North and came back delighted by all the people he had talked to. He is now the project manager of the club and we decided to organize workshops together and develop projects. They told me it will be for the years 2021-2023 with two workshops each year. Here is the link to their Facebook page:

The first topic would be about violence towards children, both in school and out of it and the non-respect of the code of children’s rights. We plan workshops to inform schoolchildren about a platform where they can talk about bullying, either by other children or teachers, by their family and also when they are apprentices doing odd jobs like laying bricks. The legal age to work as a child starts at 14 but sometimes unscrupulous managers employ younger children who dropped out of school because theirs parents cannot afford to pay for their school uniforms and their books. Members of the Rotaract also plan to go talk with local authorities in remote villages and to make them aware that children may be in danger in their communities. A campaign on social media and with UNICEF is planned.

The other project, also with workshops, concerns young girls. There is a problem with hygiene and protection during their period. Sanitary towels are too expensive in some communities. RotaractUnited plans on organizing workshops to teach the girls how to make their own towels and how to wash them and disinfect them so as not to get infections.

For both projects, the association can help with the children going to the colleges in Allada, and our center is the ideal place for this. 

Here is the link to our Website:
Our Facebook page:
Our YouTube channel:


Thank you so much Dominique for helping us understand what types of community service projects are important to the Beninese people and our fellow Rotarians living there. I am sure our REOW will here more as the community projects will progress.

Club Service
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