Atacora is empowering African communities through by revaluing indigenous resources and promoting gender equality through Atacora’s Fair Partnership Model.
The Atacora region has an incredible amount of valuable and sustainable natural resources, as well as many capable and willing people who want a better life and future. Yet, despite these abundant resources, poverty has clung tightly. Rural isolation, weak markets, and lack of income contribute to this vicious cycle of poverty.
Atacora is making a difference in these small isolated communities by giving the ladies in our Fair Partnership Co-op as well as the tree growers, fair prices for their natural resources, and fair wages for their efforts. Without this income, they would have to depend on subsitance agriculture and selling minimal surpluses in weak and often distant local markets for their livelihoods, resulting in substandard health care, nutrition and education.
BEYOND FAIR TRADE
Atacora’s efforts to encourage ownership and investment among stakeholders can be seen as an enhancement of the Fair Trade Principles. Our mission is to make these small isolated communities not dependent on us, but alternatively, build their capacity and knowledge to operate a business and have ownership. All proceeds sold in the regional African market go directly to the co-op, furthering enhancing partnership.
Dependency is not sustainable! It robs people of the dignity of owning their futures.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE ONE VILLAGE AT A TIME
Atacora is extremely involved in improving local villages’ living conditions, working within Fair Partnership to better their communities by offering the following:
- FAIR TRADE PURCHASE- We offer all of our suppliers of whole Baobab Fruit and Neem prices beyond Fair Trade standards. Thus, the tree growers and their families earn more for the whole fruit than they could selling transformed seeds, oils and fruit pulp in local markets. Better earning lead to better access to resources for advancement.
- EMPLOYMENT FOR WOMEN- Our Fair Partnership Co-op offers employment to over 30 ladies who otherwise would have to depend on subsistence agriculture and selling meager surpluses in weak local markets to sustain their households. The important supplemental income their employment at Atacora offers them can significaly raise their standard of living.
- PRIORITIZE HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT AND EDUCATION- Atacora meets regularly with producers and Co-op workers to talk and offer advice about how to manage this income. Most often, people prioritize health and education, and we like to especially promote girls’ education. Seeing that literally, ‘money grows on trees’, people more actively protect and value this important environmental resource. Now that Atacora offers additional money for certified organic producers of Baobab fruit, farmers are more interested in ecological agriculture methods as well.
- FUNDS FOR COMMUNITY DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS- We have created allocated funds to offer to the villages to improve their living conditions. We work in collaboration with the elders of the villages and the mayor to co-design and complete these projects in equal partnership. Some projects include building latrines at schools, building one-room schoolhouses in very remote villages, donating soccer balls to schools (really promotes attendance!), and donating medical equipment to local hospital rehabilitation centers.
- REVALUING INDIGENOUS RESOURCES- We have been working hard to create and provide market access for both Baobab and Neem products, both nationally in Benin as well as internationally. The benefits that the communities derive from this budding micro-industry confer added worth to previously undervalued and often wasted or abused resources.