It is a kind of poison transformed into what Henri calls green gold. In fact, the figures prove him right: “Since 2015, more than 1, 450 young green entrepreneurs and 240 producers have been trained; 3, 550 farmers in Bonou, Dangbo, Adjohonu and other villages use hyacinth derivatives. River navigation is improved and the risk of flooding is reduced; there is an improvement in water quality and biodiversity, reduction in the use of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides and their impact on health. Forty-five percent (45%) of the households use charcoal made from hyacinth, to give a few examples.”
This story has much to tell us: transforming personal pain into social commitment, turning a limitation into an opportunity. But first and foremost: protecting the common good. The use of hyacinth became a common good that Henri wanted to share with his community and beyond. Fighting a common evil requires a common good, the sharing of knowledge, the commitment of a community.
The JEVEV’s international collaborations are numerous, including the United Nations. “We are working on an online platform to promote the best practices and the use of new green technologies to foster entrepreneurship and youth employment. We also expect stronger policy statements concerning the use of chemical fertilizers and activities to support entrepreneurs who promote environmental protection and social equity.
We also expect Henri in Assisi this coming September 2022. For groups like JEVEV in Africa, the road is long, the recognition is slow and the competition is too uneven. But the hope of these young entrepreneurs who dare to change, without delaying or delegating, is strong. And it is not in vain.