LoCAL’s refurbishment links patients to clinic, farmers to market, students to school
The commune itself, which sits by the country’s border with Togo and close to Burkina Faso, covers an area of 1600 square kilometers and, as of 2002, had a population of 30,154 people.
In a country comprised of mainly flatlands, Toucountouna lies in the most mountainous region of Benin – the department of Atacora. This allows for the diversification of crops, but makes transportation more rigorous and costly.
It is evident that the bridge is not only necessary for business, but also for the wellbeing of the locals. This connecting point serves as direct road to a health clinic on one end and a school on the other.
The Kouarfa Health Clinic is within a short distance from the bridge. It is the main health institution that many locals head to for birth giving, malaria treatment, injury emergencies and immunization shots.
The distance and time spent on the way to the health clinic has been considerably reduced after the rehabilitation of the bridge. Mrs. Teto Bagami, a local resident who recently gave birth to twins, experienced this first hand.
Without the bridge, the trip would have taken hours more and I would have had to walk for a portion of it... ...unknowingly, I arrived just in time to deliver and, little did I know, I was carrying twins.” Mrs. Teto Bagami, local resident
“Four days ago, I felt sick with a headache and vomiting. I asked my brother to take me to clinic on his motorbike for some medicine. Without the bridge, the trip would have taken hours more and I would have had to walk for a portion of it.” She said, “Unknowingly, I arrived just in time to deliver and, little did I know, I was carrying twins.”
Mrs. Bagami comes back regularly for doctor’s consultations, taking the bridge route always. Her story is not unique in its sense. She named her two newly-born daughters Mart and Martine – her 10th and 11th respectively. Formerly, she would have had to walk through a contraption of laid logs and mud sand, a journey that is so arduous, some people avoided it altogether, putting their health at risk.
Toucountouna was selected by LoCAL on the basis that, according to studies by the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), it is one of the more vulnerable agro-ecological regions, with potential high benefits in dealing with climate change.
With LoCAL funds, the commune of Toucountouna has rehabilitated the bridge that serves as a major artery in a sparsely roaded area. The aim of the bridge is not merely to connect the regions, but also to help the locals with climate adaptation in the face of unpredictable floods that can cut off transportation routes and erode the land, especially considering northern Benin’s hilly terrain.