Competition Winner: Séna Libla

Séna Wislande Libla, was born on February 27, 1993 in Cotonou, Benin. She holds a degree in audiovisual journalism obtained in 2016. She is currently in her second year of a Masters in audiovisual journalism at the ISMA, Institute of Audiovisual Professions of Benin. Eleven months ago, she started working at the National Radio of Benin as a reporter.

Solar street lights changing lives in Benin

Click here to listen to the original story in French

We are in Fian Couta, a district of 12th district of Cotonou. In our field of vision, Adjoua, in her thirties, is busy while waiting for customers. She sells donut porridge made from wheat flour.

“I’m selling cooked porridge and wheat flour donuts. It’s been seven years now that I’m doing this business. I have three children who are all going to school. “

It is 5 pm, residents of the district and other visitors go to her display to taste what she is offering. Adjoua rushes to satisfy them. Next to it is a stove of incandescent charcoal on which is placed a pan containing simmering palm oil. On the fire, bayées that serve as an accompaniment to the porridge are in full cooking. It is a business led by most women in this neighborhood. While at nightfall, the other vendors find themselves in the dark with the only lighting of the smoking lanterns, Adjoua enjoys the light beam generated by the solar lamp under which she has establish her location. It is a metal post that rests on a concrete base. This public lighting device, about three meters long, is topped with a solar panel that powers it. For Adjoua installed here for a year, the choice of this site is not random:

“Since I settled under this lamp, I make more profit because this solar slope enlighten me. Added to this is the way I maintain my display. All this attracts customers who stop even if they are in their cars. Before I was at least 4 miles to 5 miles CFA of profit. But since I’ve been here, I’m doing at least 6 or 7,000 francs a day and I’m happy. “
Benefits that allow her to support her husband in the household expenses:
“Speaking of the burden of children, these benefits allow me to help my husband pay for their schooling. I’m in charge of their breakfast and their clothes. I also take care of myself and thank God. When the taxi engine breaks down, this street lamp allows them to stop to repair their motorcycle. Which brings me a lot of customers.”

Accompanying Photos

6pm Adjoua is at her location in Fiyégnon Houta, a district of Fidjrossé in Cotonou in Benin. Adjoua sitting in front of her stove of charcoal. On her right side the solar street lamp not yet lit.

6:20 pm Adjoua is working to serve her first clients.

7:00 pm Adjoua’s customers placing orders and waiting to
be served.

7:30 pm Lighting of the solar pole lamp, next to it stand Adjoua’s nephews. She is on the other side focused on serving her clients.

7:35pm Adjoua’s customers waiting to be served under the light of the solar pole lamp.

7:45pm Adjoua’s daughter with her reading book surrounded by her cousins, under the light of the solar lamp.

7:55pm The customers in front of Adjoua’s display, coming to buy porridge and donuts made of wheat flour.