Waste and household waste are part of the everyday life of people and waste management in Africa and Benin in particular continues to be a headache, both for policymakers and technical and financial partners. But for organizations like Songhai Centre, waste, rather called ‘by-products’, are a treasure. Thanks to the cherished principle of recycling which means that nothing is lost, but rather everything is transformed, by-products are used to add value to products, creating new goods and services, and preserving the environment. In this field, Songhai Centre is a model and we can learn from its experience.

It is what was understood by some local authorities of Benin and France, including Emmanuel Zossou (Mayor of Porto-Novo), Celestin Djivoh (First Deputy Mayor of Seme-Podji), Gregory Courtas (Mayor of Pussay) and Anne Thibault (Mayor of Arville). This Thursday, April 21, 2016, they chose to visit Songhai Centre (Porto-Novo) to discover or rediscover what is done on the use of by-products. The tour, led by the Director of Songhai, Fr Godfrey Nzamujo, met their expectations and even surprised some. “I did not know there was so much effort, so much operational research, so many things going on beside me,” said the mayor Zossou adding: “It is a good work, I am very happy. It gave me ideas. “From an economic point of view, “to transform by-products into wealth is very interesting,” especially in a global context where waste management is a problem, thinks Grégory Courtas for whom “Songhai, in this regard, is a good business model for sustainable development and for the planet. “

The two French mayors in Benin as part of the partnership between the International Union for the use and disposal of household waste and refuse (SIREDOM) – second union in France for treatment of household waste – and the municipalities of Porto Novo and Seme-Podji. Anne Thibault, Vice President of SIREDOM in charge of waste – new deposits, the visit of Songhai Centre should enable to “go further in their partnership approach with the municipalities of Porto-Novo and Seme-Podji, to put together something in place in Benin. “Waste management is a daily concern therefore calling for prompt action, Celestin Djivoh, the deputy mayor of Sèmè-Podji reassures that “in the coming months, there will be concrete actions.”

On the side of visitors, there were not only municipal authorities. There was also the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Brian Udaigwe, representative of the Holy Seat in Benin and Togo. Seeking a place to show his visitors, he has thought of Songhai which he has already visited in the past. He does not understand how Africa, the richest continent in the world, is at the same time the poorest. According to the prelate, it is not fair to think that others will develop Africa, rather than Africans. Although “no one is an island and we need each other to grow,” the Nuncio is categorical: “We should do what we know before expecting others to help us.” This is the exhortation that emerges from the actions of Songhai Centre, which explains the congratulations and encouragements to Fr Nzamujo and his employees.


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