Unesco Green Citizens

Solidarity for Water on Nokoué Project (PCSEN)

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Project begin: 07/08/2006

7 communities living around Lake Nokoué in Southern Benin joined forces to increase access to clean water and set up local sanitation solutions.

Leading organisation: Emmaus international and its local group based in Cotonou (Emmaus Pahou)
The country where the team is based: Benin
Theme: Education for Sustainable Development, Hydrology
Sub-themes: Access to water, Knowledge sharing, Poverty and inequality reduction, Resources management, Rural areas, Water education, Water resource management
Tag: #Africa
Selection: 2020/2021
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Despite living on the water in stilted houses, the inhabitants of Lake Nokoué had no access to drinking water. The problem was not scarcity but lack of purification, sanitation and management, in particular high levels of pollution as houses didn’t have toilets and rubbish was thrown into the lake. Connected to the sea, the lake water was also very salty. This meant that you had to walk 10-15 kilometers to get clean water or accept health risks like cholera or malaria.

Sharing knowledge to manage resources

And so, the PCSEN project came to life with support from Emmaus International and its local group based in Cotonou (Emmaus Pahou). The aim? Enable local inhabitants to manage sustainable access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Initially tested in Ahomey-Gblon and Gbessou, the project was expanded to 7 additional sites with help from the Abbé Pierre Foundation. This participatory approach brought together local communities, leading to the creation of pumping and treatment plants, 84 sanitary blocks (336 latrines) and a local management association, as well as training in good hygiene practices.

By 2016, 61% of the local population (nearly 70,000 people) could access drinking water vs. 10% in 2011. Despite ongoing capacity building and sustainability challenges, local communities are committed to maintaining and increasing access to clean water.

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