The Association
The association Chance for Benín was founded in July 2009 on the initiative of Birgitta and Heinz Bahner.
The couple worked from 1994 - 1996 as volunteers with their children in Bénin.
The association is registered in the association of the city of Lahr.

The taxation office of the City of Lahr has temporarily recognized the not-for-profit status.

Objectives of the Association
The association has given itself the objective
to attract attention in Germany to the problems in Benin by giving information and by raising funds through donations.

as primary goal:
to support the project of the Centre de Nutrition (a place which gives advice on nourishment) in Ouassa-Tokpa in Benin, Western Africa, to obtain urgently needed food supplies and medication as well as organising for the necessary support for the project. Further information on the Centre de Nutrition is given further down in the text.

to plan as mid-term goal:
to establish a station giving advice on nourishment in the so called "black soil area" (due to the fact that the soil there is predominantly black), preferably in the vicinity of Lobogo in order to save the effected people from travelling the unreasonable distance to Ouassa-Tokpa.

to plan as long-term goal:
to cooperate with relief associations and other non-governmental organisations in the area with the objective to establish an apprenticeship training centre for agriculture and stockbreeding to give the people the opportunity to create their own income.
Background Information:
In the south of Benin, north of the Lac Aheme, there is a region, the so called "black soil area" (Terre-Noir), which was cut off from the rest of the world up to now since there was no infrastructure like roads due to the bad conditions of the ground. Even with off-road vehicles this region was accessible for only three months a year. On the maps this area was a white spot. The amount of villages and settlements or the population could only be estimated. There was no electricity, no drinking water, no school and also no medical care
Birth or death registers were not kept. Presumably many inhabitants have never left the area in her life. The people there lived from what they cultivated or what they hunted. In case of sickness or disease the only assistance was mostly that of a shaman. The way to the market took them several hours. The market was the most important source of news for the villagers. Therefore this area was cut off from the development of the rest of the country.
For a few years there is now an earth road leading into this area and the problems of the unsatisfactory development become visible.
So diseases like Marasmus and Kwashiorkor are now consciously perceived, which up to now were unknown in its extent. These diseases are one contributor to the high mortality rate of children in this region. Furthermore, there are worm sicknesses, malaria and infection diseases of all kinds in the whole area.

The main reasons for the diseases are:
Lack of knowledge that the diseases can and must be cured
Lack of knowledge of a good nourishment (most villagers have no school education).
Lack of hygiene - often there is no knowledge of the basics of hygiene.
Often there is no treatment of wounds, no desinfection, no cover or protection of the wound.
Lack of nourishment, -there is hardly anything to hunt, and there are no shops
Unsatisfactory or just no medical care in the village, no medication available
No possibility of generating income (medicine costs money the people don't have)
The government of the country makes efforts to improve the supplies in the whole country. Measures taken show positive changes already. For the most part of the country the supplies of drinking water was extended and secured, the general compulsory school attendance applies for girls as well, and the medical care will be improved further. The communication infrastructure in the country has improved and much has been done in the construction of roads. We (the association) hope that the government does not run out of money for these projects.
Apart from the governmental programmes there are many relief associations and uncountable small associations and private projects within the whole country with some promising results. However, the need for support will continue for quite some years.

One of the many projects in the country is the Centre de Nutrition in Ouassa-Tokpa.
The centre for nourishment in Ouassa-Tokpa, established in January 1999, serves the following objectives:
1.to provide medical assistance to those children in the region, who suffer from deficiency of nourishment and to support them in the process of recuperation
2.to sensitize the mothers for an appropriate nourishment
3.to monitor the development of their child/children
4.to establish a programme to prevent false nourishment
This is the initiative taken by the Benín citizen FRANÇOIS HOUESSOU, who descended from Ouassa-Tokpa. After living in France for 20 years he returned to his country to develop the area and to give each child the same chance to survive.
Unfortunately, the means allocated to this project are not sufficient to give support to all aspects of the project. The root cause for the sickness of the children can almost be eliminated by appropriate education of the parents in the region. After the growing knowledge of the malnutrition and pointing out possibilities to bring relief, the main focus of activity of the Centre de Nutrition could hopefully concentrate on other subjects.

Solutions?
Solving the problem of the lack of knowledge by giving information.
The education of healthy nourishment resulting in healthy mothers and children, when understood and applied
Monthly weighting procedures to monitor the growth and the gaining of weight.
The creation of jobs to counter the economic problems

Since its foundation in 1999 until September 2009 the Centre de Nutrition was able to help 1004 children succsessful.

The advice centres of nutrition are (still) scarce in Benin ,
but the centre in Oussa-Tokpa is on a good track.

We would like to support the Centre on its way.



Translated by family Alt - thanks for the kind assistance