Granny Akossiwa gets her smile back thanks to WACA
Granny Akossiwa gets her smile back thanks to WACA with the support of the World Bank.
At the age of forty, Dame Akossiwa saw her livelihood disappear due to coastal erosion. The sea, advancing at an alarming rate of around 15 meters per year along Benin's west coast, devastated the rush fields that provided the raw material for her business.
Since her earliest childhood, Akossiwa had learned from her parents the art of making mats from rush branches and marketing them. For decades, this activity had been the only source of income for her and her family, until she reached the age of 80 and coastal erosion deprived her of her job.
Without any support, life became a daily ordeal for Akossiwa. Her days were filled with hardship and suffering.
This ordeal lasted three long years, until the World Bank succeeded in mobilizing funds to undertake coastal protection works in the border region of Benin and Togo, with the aim of stabilizing Benin's west coast.
These works were part of the West African Coastal Resilience Investment Project (WACA ResiP). Not only did they protect the coast and restore the beach, providing new land for the regrowth of Akossiwa's rushes, but they also helped revive its economic activity. It was like rejuvenation for her, as evidenced by her radiant smile amidst the piles of rush branches, this Wednesday June 21, 2023 at Louis Condji, in the commune of Grand-Popo. She was feeling revived, and even claimed to be 20 years younger thanks to this new opportunity.
Author: Carole Coovi, UGP Benin