The Atacora region in the North West of Benin is of great natural beauty and one of the country's main tourist attractions. As Eva Maria Helm reports, people mainly live on subsistence agriculture, which is affected by drought and soil erosion.
Many people are illiterate and suffer from poverty, lack of perspectives and violence – especially women and girls. It includes sexual abuse and the trafficking of children. In order to address these problems, Joséphine Koubetti founded a women's self help group in August 2003 (the Women's Union for the Development of Boukoumbé (UFeDeB) Yénta.
In addition, she is running a hotel, built in traditional tata style, the architecture of the Bétamaribé. This hotel not only helps to finance activities conducted by the women, but also serves as a centre for exchange on women's and girls' rights. Tourists may take part in meetings and may ask questions. Though most of the contacts are short-term, networking helps in the women's development and allows tourists to get a more holistic picture of life in Benin. -ck-