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New Initiative in Benin

A VOLDEB trainer runs a training session using CALLED TO CARE workbooks

A local NGO, VOLDEB, has developed an innovative means of using STRATEGIES FOR HOPE materials in Benin.

The Director of VOLDEB (Volontaires du dévéloppement à la base), Mr Clément Gigo Sagbohan, explains: “We have an extensive programme centred on health topics which we keep going with few resources.  We organise meetings for women in churches, in schools, for community groups or in the offices of our NGO, and when the subject touches on sexuality or HIV/AIDS, we have found the CALLED TO CARE books are an authoritative and essential aid for the facilitators to help sweep away prejudices, raise awareness, advise and educate. Due to the huge need for this material, it became clear that we needed to find a system for each literate person involved to use the copies we had to their full potential. So we have a system of ‘book rotation’, and we also make photocopies”.

A workshop run by VOLDEB, using CALLED TO CARE no. 3, Time to Talk

Since 1997, VOLDEB volunteers have been organising reading sessions: the volunteers keep their books for two weeks to read and discuss with their groups.  At the end of this time, they exchange books with another volunteer.  After 6 weeks of this ‘book rotation’, VOLDEB organises a 3 or 4-day workshop for volunteers to give a presentation of the first book they have read in depth.  Following this, the workshop participants pass on their new knowledge to their target audiences; these might be community groups, schools, colleges, churches, or women’s groups.  In this way, the facilitators acquire a good knowledge of the contents of the books, and a large number of people can be reached using a small quantity of books.

This programme is supplemented with photocopies of STRATEGIES FOR HOPE materials through a system of ‘book rotation’.  Each person takes a copy of a book, reads it and returns it after two or three weeks in exchange for another.  Over the past four years, VOLDEB has also made 201 copies of all or part of three CALLED TO CARE workbooks in French.  When they run out of copies, they photocopy more; this is easy because of the A4 format of the books.

Trish Attwooll