Since its creation in 1985, Songhai Center, an unconditional supporter of agro-ecology, has invested a great deal in the development and promotion of decentralized renewable energies. From the simple biogas digester built at Songhai site of Ouando – based on the Chinese model - in the late 1980s, the center has now moved to an impressive renewable energy platform: biogas, biofuel, gasifier, photovoltaic solar energy, wind energy ... obtained from the waste of agricultural production. The expertise of the Center is no longer to be demonstrated, it is requested in the implementation of various Renewable Energies projects in Benin and even beyond. The most recent example is that of ReBin Foundation.
ReBin is a compound English word meaning Reuse your bean. The ReBin Foundation is therefore a Swiss foundation that would like to give a new chance to waste that pollutes the environment. The goal of the project is to clean up the cities and countryside of Benin, through the transformation of organic waste into energy and fertilizers. Energy (biogas) stored in backpacks is used for cooking in households while fertilizers are used in crop production.
In the municipality of Toffo which hosts the experimental phase of the project, more than 500 households have been sensitized to bring the waste directly to the site. In return, they receive one of the products of the Center namely biogas, compost, drinking water, effluent or fish. Those who wish, instead exchange these waste for money, says Sèwaï Mardochée, Director of Operations of the Waste Recovery Center in ReBin Foundation. Thus, for 10kg of waste brought, the person receives 250 CFA francs; the quantity of products given in exchange by the foundation is based on this principle and the populations seem to be delighted. Adeline Awadedji does not bring waste to the ReBin Center but she goes there regularly to get biogas. Compared to charcoal or firewood, this method of cooking really simplifies life, according to her. She uses it for cooking food in her household, but also for her small business. "When I load my bag of biogas at 400F a bag, I can use it for about 5 hours", says the saleswoman of yovo dokô (donuts made with wheat flour). The 5 hours are spread over several days; "It all depends on what I prepare," she says.
Songhaï as a technical partner …
By setting up in Toffo in November 2017, the ReBin Foundation sought Songhaï's expertise for the installation of bio-digesters, a waste grinder, fish ponds and also for the training of staff. Since then, the two partners have been working together for the success of the project which should extend to Benin's 77 municipalities. Like Songhai, the ReBin Foundation is also in a logic of integration of its activities, in order to complete the transformation cycles of raw materials.