Overview of the project
The Fifadji swamp is one of the last refuges of biodiversity in the heart of the city of Cotonou, where the future of more than 2.4 million city dwellers are currently at stake (INSAE 2016). It belongs to the wetland constituted by Lake Nokoué, the Cotonou lagoon and these marshy extensions are attached to the Ouémé complex (RAMSAR site EST 1018). The swamp extends over approximately 71 hectares of non-buildable areas and carries rainwater at an azimuth of 70° from Togbin to Lake Nokoué through the 8th, 9th and 10th Arrondissements of the city of Cotonou. The Fifadji Swamp still harbours biodiversity of aquatic flora and fauna whose conservation and management will bring renewed interest in green employment and self-sustaining development of the largest metropolis in Benin. Unfortunately, in the absence of adequate management, this ecosystem is threatened by the proliferation of human activities (waste disposal, open defecation, anarchic extension of wild dumps) which dangerously affect the environment and the survival of biodiversity. Initially, it was a question of mobilizing the city dwellers and residents around the preservation and restoration of the biodiversity of the Fifadji swamp with the development of eco-pedagogical and cultural spaces. Specifically, we aim to transform the Fifadji swamp into a pole of heritage biodiversity preservation and urban attraction. The ultimate vision is to make the Fifadji swamp an attractive green lung where nature will gradually regain its rights for the well-being of urban communities and tourists in the city of Cotonou.
To develop an attractive, eco-educational, cultural, river transport and fishing production green lung in the heart of Cotonou.
21/09/2017 "Ongoing Project"
- 400 square meters of the water body have been removed from the garbage and constitute a point of attraction for the citizens of Cotonou.
- The first eco-citizen dock has been built with citizen involvement to operationalize the experimental pilot phase.
- The study area has been invested and the publication of the results is in progress.
- The inventory shows that the Fifadji swamp feeds the Lake Nokoué and Cotonou channel complex which belongs to the extension of the RAMSAR_EST_1018 site.
- The swamp stores and evacuates rainwater in 6 out of 13 districts avoiding flooding in several houses.
It is also one of the last refuges of biodiversity that extends over 40 hectares of non-buildable areas in Cotonou, the great metropolis where the future of the entire Beninese nation is currently at stake. Twenty-four plant species classified into 15 families including Sarcocephalus pobeguinii, which is native to the Ouémé valley, have been identified. The associated fauna is composed of Porphyrio alleni, Gallinula chloropus meridionalis, Varanus niloticus, Crocodylus niloticus, freshwater turtles, toads, ophids, crabs, fishes Clarias sp, Heterobranchus, Sarotherodon and a seasonal avian diversity of kingfishers, woodpeckers, turtle doves, and small-shot.
The participatory interest highlights the desire for the development of city dwellers in a city marked by the non-existence of an attractive site.
Schools have contributed to the harmonization and strengthening. The mobilization of citizens has allowed for the development of a new form of commitment and the identification of key technical partners (experts, technicians, workers in each of the units) with results well beyond the realm of possibility. With these initial results, contributing citizens have taken their destiny into their own hands and have become experts in their own environment through their involvement.
1 - Citizen mobilization and request for citizen financial participation on social networks (Facebook and WhatsApp).
2 - AGIR's contribution of 96% taken from the membership fees since 2014.
AGIR is a fusion of exchange and action in the service of the living and the environment that hosts them. Its mission since 2014, the date of its creation, is to allow science to be at the service of citizens so that Nature can regain its rights while playing its nourishing role for living communities. To do this, AGIR mobilizes citizens and their intelligence to conduct the inventory of natural resources (plants, water, living and others), their restoration and their development in the areas to which these resources are attached. After identifying the resources, AGIR draws the attention of citizens to their roles in the natural heritage and their potential for the emergence of the environmental issue in the face of the challenges of climate change. Since 2014, more than 300 rural and more than 1100 urban people have been mobilized around conservation activities, natural habitat restoration and local heritage enhancement. Local plants with restricted distribution threatened and sometimes little known, present a beautiful landscape architecture with a major heritage interest in Benin. They have been reproduced with low-cost vegetative propagation methods to be integrated into the urban landscape. An eco-citizen project for educational and ecotourism purposes is being developed in Cotonou, the largest metropolis on the West African corridor. This project will have the merit of creating in Cotonou, an attractive pole of productivity and green jobs in a city still lacking attractive sites.
Nature Tropicale ONG, Fondation UAC Startup Valley, Cotonou City Council.