Third, capacity building for local decision-making structures is vital so that the village inhabitants benefit directly from concrete actions. In practice, certain communes continue to prioritise political actions to the detriment of local social and economic development. That is why it is so important to create spaces for dialogue where local communities can make their needs heard.
In addition to its work with the communal authorities, the SDC is developing a close partnership with communal associations in the Borgou and Alibori departments, which are responsible for projects that have been set up at the inter-communal level. Giving these associations a key role in planning and carrying out the activities helps ensure long-term success.
To date, the SDC’s programme has helped rehabilitate and equip 42 classrooms and 23 health centres. Several bridges and new sections of pathways have also been built. At the request of the local authorities, the SDC will continue to support efforts to professionalise Benin’s civil registration services by 2020.
In terms of land-use planning, the SDC is also planning to help communes draw up master plans and implement urban planning. This is expected to attract business ventures that create jobs as well. With the help of better planning tools, the fourteen communes in Borgou and Alibori should also be better placed to face demographic and climate-related constraints affecting the region. In concrete terms, there are several measures that can be taken to mitigate the impact of recurring natural disasters such as flooding, prolonged drought and insect infestations.