A delegate from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Chad, Togo and Benin, visited the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, on Monday the 19th and Tuesday, October 20, 2015. Following their last visit to the Centre in September 2015, by Liz KPAM Ahua, UNHCR’s regional Director for West Africa, is part of an upcoming collaboration between the Centre and the United Nations agency. The objective is the welfare of refugees in the western part of Africa.

Mariam Diallo, representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Togo, still remembers the first words of her superior, after her visit to Songhai Centre, during her visit to the UNHCR office in Lome. “Dear colleagues, I encourage you to visit the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo; it is a model and I want, even if it is not to be reproduce it in its entirety, it should be used as inspiration” said Liz Ahua KPAM. It will also be proposed to other UNHCR offices in West Africa, especially in Chad, where the number of refugees is estimated at 400,000. José Antonio Canhandula, UNHCR representative in this country, said it is time to “teach the refugees to meet their own needs after ten (10) years of assistance.” A philosophy that fully in line with the Songhai Centre, whose vision is to strengthen the capacity of African youth through organic and integrated farming.

The visit of the UNHCR delegate for West Africa, is therefore a first step in the process leading to the partnership agreement between the two institutions. The delegate visited the Centre Songhai in Porto Novo Ouando, and the Entrepreneurship Promotion Centre Songhai Farm (CPEAS) Kétou; she also met with the officials of the Centre. Next step according Mariam Diallo, is to build on the ideas to define the types of projects to develop, start-up steps and then present this work to the actors involved. Like her colleagues in Chad and Benin, and nine (09) other members of the delegation, the UNHCR representative in Togo, thinks that this process will go quickly, as they are very inspired and impressed by the discovery Centre.


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