Nokoué Lake – Benin

 

Lake Nokoué is an oval shaped, brackish lake located in the very south of Benin, with riverine freshwater influx in the north and seawater influx in the south of the lake. The lake is directly connected to the ocean via the 4.5 km long and 300 m wide Cotonou channel. Another connection to the sea is a channel on the eastern side of the lagoon which passes by the capital Porto-Novo. Freshwater influx is supplied by the rivers Quémé and Sô, which form deltas at the eastern and northern end of the lake respectively. The size of the shallow lake (0.4 - 3.4 m depth) varies seasonally. During the dry season it covers an area of approximately 160 km². However, the lake’s size is tripled when the surrounded areas are flooded for a few weeks a year during the rainy season. Consequently, Lake Nokoué is surrounded by seasonally inundated forests and marshes.

 

Lake Nokoué, including the surrounding area, is an essential habitat for birds and was therefore designated as Ramsar Site in 2000. The highly biologically diverse area is an important nesting site for a wide variety of aquatic species. It is a unique habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, including some endangered species, and is a vital sanctuary for some of these. 

The country’s largest city Cotonou, with a population of about 700,000 inhabitants, is located on the narrow stretch of land between Lake Nokoué and the Atlantic Ocean. The lake village Ganvié is on the northern shore of the lake, just at the mouth of the river Sô. With 20,000 inhabitants, it is probably Africa’s biggest lake village and a cultural UNESCO World Heritage site, which attracts a lot of cultural and eco-tourists. Apart from tourism, the village’s most important sources of income are fishing and fish farming.

 

Our partner Amis de l’Afrique Francophone-Bénin (AMAF-BENIN) is a humanitarian organization founded in 2008. Its objectives are to improve education, promote development and establish dialogue frameworks. In general, AMAF-BENIN is working towards a healthy and productive lifestyle for the local community, especially in the poorest areas. One mechanism for this is to ensure access to an improved drinking water source. Additionally, AMAF-BENIN promotes sustainable management of both humid and arid areas, as well as the natural resources. The organisation also works to increase the capacities of the local population with the help of various projects and advocacy.

 

AMAF-BENIN promotes nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in order to make the conservation of nature and biodiversity a higher priority in the future, thereby ending impoverishment in Benin. Topics such as gender issues and the social distress faced by neglected children, young people and unemployed women, are also addressed.

 

During the “Benin clean-up” project that was carried out around Lake Nokoué by AMAF-BENIN and partners, a large amount of people from Cotonou and other communities around the lake and channel were mobilized. The involved population helped to remove harmful waste from the lake and Cotonou channel. Additionally, the public was informed and discussed the effects of toxic waste emissions on human health and the environment in general. Another goal of the project was to educate the local population and fishermen about sustainable actions and use of the lake.

 

Amis de l’Afrique Francophone-Bénin (AMAF-BENIN)

Rue 213, Carré N°903 Saint-Jean Cotonou

Benin

Phone: +229 98146364

E-mail: amafbenin@yahoo.fr

Website: www.amaf.site-fr.fr/page/56165