Benin Chapter

Update about the Involvement in the National Response to COVID-19 (09/28/2020)

a)  Our suggestions as part of the National Strategy at the community level to respond to COVID-19 mainly include:

  • a need to include Civil Society Organizations as key stakeholders in the strategy development process and its implementation;
  • a need to put emphasis on developing local capacities including communities and local government;
  • a need to value women and youth as key driving forces in the National Response Plan and Action.

Moreover we articulate the National Response in three phases.

Phase 1: Focus on preventive measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic (see poster 1 from the Government and reviewed by Benin CLD Chapter). 

Phase 2: Focus on lifestyle including good nutrition, physical exercises, adequate sleep and stress management. This phase also includes Phase 1. The purpose of Phase 2 is to support the immune system of the community members

Phase 3: At this Phase, communities cope with the pandemic; Phase 3 also involves Phase 1 and Phase 2. This corresponds to a moment when all stakeholders return to a new normalcy trend towards the SDGs.

We also draw attention on the si ne qua non cooperation between government, civil society organizations an private sector associations to build, on a sustainable basis, any development action including the response COVID-19.

Conclusions

– The strategy is currently being circulated and we notice that the Civil Society is included at the grassroots level but not at the strategy development level. They are involved in the implementation as local supporting teams. We still have a way to go for the Civil Society’s voice to be systematically heard.

– The need to put emphasis on developing local capacities including communities and local government as recommended by the Benin Chapter has been fully taken into account.

– The focus on the lifestyle as suggested by the Benin chapter for the CLD has not been included in the national strategy document. Yet a poster reflecting on this has been approved and is now being circulated.

An opportunity for the Benin Chapter to collaborate with local governments about responding to COVID-19 comes with the financial resources recently allocated to them by the national government.  

The Benin CLD Chapter is offering to support the communes of Benin through the Ministry of Decentralization and ANCB (National Association of the Communes of Benin) in that endeavor so that communities fully take advantage of it.

A meeting with the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Governance has been organized for that purpose on Wednesday 23, September 2020. And another meeting is planned for this Friday with the ANCB (National Association of the Communes of Benin). In total, the involvement of the Benin CLD Chapter in the national response to COVID-19 can be summarized in the following:

  • Input for national response strategy document at the community level.
  • Improving and updating the poster edited by the government earlier and related to preventive measures.
  • Co-creating the lifestyle poster with the pandemic COVID-19 national steering committee (a poster initiated by the Benin CLD Chapter) 
  • Co-creating a poster to draw attention to mask wearing everywhere and any time whether we are with colleagues, relatives or family members (poster submitted for final approval by the National steering committee) – Poster joined –.
  • Support to communes in their endeavor to improve the response to COVID-19 at the community level (being planned).
  • Joint involvement of key stakeholders needed for sustainability and application to response actions against covid-19. [ i) Civil society organizations through the Benin CLD chapter, ii) national and local governments through the Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Governance, ANCB and the communes iii) private sector such as IUMA, a university, already involved, Banks such as Société Général des Banques already contacted, and others being contacted]. 
  • Expanding the scope of stakeholders to be involved in the response to COVID-19 to the partnership with ‘’La Ligue des Consommateurs du Benin’’ so that they could voice consumers’ interests through the CLD chapter particularly in relation to public service quality delivered by some companies and institutions during this pandemic period.
  • Taking advantage of the recommendation letter issued by the Ministry of Health to better collaborate with partners involved in responding to COVID-19.

b) Letter of recommendation issued by the Ministry of Health and Partnership with various Agencies

The recommendation letter issued by the ministry of health aims to support any request from the secretariat of the Benin Movement Chapter for the CLD towards funding agencies.

Along with the recommendation letter, we have requested partnerships from UNICEF, UNDP, WFP, and UNFPA (messages available) to get them involved in editing the posters approved by the government and to take advantage of them while implementing specific actions related to their missions in Benin.

As at now, the World Food Program has responded to our request and we had an e-meeting which concluded on having the CLD principle applied to school canteen management with the view of ensuring their sustainability.

In fact, about 600.000 pupils in 4.000 schools have access to canteen facilities which do not value enough local available resources.

The COVID-19 posters will be edited in the frame of the school canteens management including the input of the CLD Chapter to be discussed and finalized.

The same logic applies for the partnerships we are in search for from other cooperation/funding agencies.

We are preparing a concept note to make sure that local resources (vegetables and other crops) are valued to support the trend to the self-reliance of the current school canteen system.

It must be noted that most of the raw food /ingredients currently used at the school canteens are imported with most of the resources allocated by national government.

From this case and other similar situations where resources locally mobilized sustain foreign business/enterprises, our CLD Chapter envisages to develop an initiative aiming at promoting local economy by fully valuing local resources. (model 1: Promotion of non-timber forest products in forest management plans; model 2: Promotion of local resources for the supply, management and sustainable operation of school canteens).

C- Joint involvement of key actors needed for sustainability and application to response actions against COVID-19.

As an illustration of the private sector involvement to date, we can share the agreement with University Institute of Management and Administration – (Institut Universitaire des Métiers de l’Avenir) to print one thousand (1,000) copies of the two (02) posters which were co-created and approved by the Covid-19 Pandemic Steering Committee.

Other private sector actors are on the list of actors to be consulted and involved (Banks, National Lottery, etc.)