This week, a group of Dutch investors embarked on a special journey to Benin to celebrate 10 years since the founding of their investment network, Katakle, which has been partnering with The Hunger Project since 2008. The network is committed to achieving the end of hunger and poverty in the West African country of Benin.
Katakle has been increasing the impact of The Hunger Project’s work in Benin through the Epicenter Strategy, a women-centered and community-led development approach that unites thousands of people in clusters of rural villages to create an “epicenter,” or a dynamic center where communities are mobilized for action to meet their basic needs. This holistic strategy partners with communities on their path to sustainable self-reliance through four phases over about eight years.
Founded in 2008 by business executive Carel van Bemmelen in collaboration with NPM Capital and The Hunger Project-Netherlands, Katakle is an inspiring network of about 60 members from Dutch companies, entrepreneurs and foundations representing a wide range of businesses. The name “Katakle” means “a chair with three legs,” a chair that was used when crowning kings. The name and the group itself symbolize cooperation, stability, leadership and strength – values that fuel Katakle’s investment in Benin.
Over the last decade, Katakle’s investment expanded from supporting 11 to 18 epicentres. More than 300,000 people have been reached with Katakle’s support, and over 125,000 are now living in self-reliant communities, which means The Hunger Project has exited the communities who have demonstrated the confidence, capacity and skills to act as agents of their own development. Over the next few years, The Hunger Project hopes to celebrate many more self-reliant epicenters.
According to a Katakle member, Muriel Schrikkema: “I can tell you about how touched I am by what I have seen – about the double feeling of pleasure and discomfort, about the strength of the women, the inventiveness, the solid buildings, the enthusiasm and the dedication of the THP team in Benin – and about the progress and the results.”
The Katakle team is joined by 20 musicians from the Netherlands Wind Ensemble (NBE) who also took part in the festivities on March 27 at the Kissamey Epicenter.