In continuation of the rice project in Benin, the Collibri Foundation for education keeps its commitment to invest in training young people. The programme provides a training in rice cultivation for about 30 young people from farming families of the cooperative organisation UNIRIZ-C.
Reviving the cultivation of rice in the region of Collines only made sense if there was succession to make it sustainable. That is exactly why the Collibri Foundation for education exists. Following on the rice project, Colruyt Group's education foundation has been working on a training programme in rice farming for young people since 2013. In a partnership with the Katholieke Hogeschool of Louvain, the Danish Bornefonden, the training centre of Songhaï and Vredeseilanden (VECO), 3 training cycles are organised between 2013 and 2019 for 30 young people from farming families of the cooperative organisation UNIRIZ-C.
Although crucial for the economy and development of the country, agriculture in general, and rice farming in particular, are confronted with numerous obstacles. There is the ageing farming population, the exodus of young people from the countryside, the negative image of the trade and its perspectives, and the training cost. The programme has many objectives. In general it wants to secure the future for the cultivation of rice in Benin and West Africa by motivating and supporting young people by means of scholarships and professional training in the Songhaï centre of Savalou. This centre is well-known for its integral farming techniques.
Last year, Ambre, anthropologist and post-baccalaureate student at Hogeschool in Louvain, went on site on a work placement. With the help of people from the cooperative organisation, an agricultural expert and a project coordinator, she participated in the selection of the 1st group of 10 young people who will follow the training programme at the Songhaï centre. At the end of September, this training will be followed by a practical work placement of 2 months in a model farm. The young people will afterwards be coached to start their own activities. (photos)
This year, Véronique who is also a post-baccalaureate student at KHL, will go on site to ensure follow-up. She will meet the 10 young people in training and prepare the grounds for their future activities with them. She will also participate in the recruitment and selection of 10 new young people for the second training cycle.
To be continued...