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Enhancing Environmental Health in Cotonou, Benin: The Impact of Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse’s Advocacy

By Cidee Despi

Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse, a dedicated community health advocate from Benin, has been spearheading an Environment-Health education project to address the chronic insalubrity and poor hygienic conditions faced by the populations living on the edges of the lagoon shore of Cotonou. With a Master’s degree in health promotion and a passion for environmental health, Esse aims to educate and mobilize local communities while advocating for their right to a healthy environment. This article delves into the transformative work of Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse, highlighting his journey, the driving forces behind his advocacy, the positive outcomes achieved through the EXCELerator program, and his plans for the future.

Passion for Advocacy

Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse’s deep-rooted passion for environmental health stems from his recognition of the severe health consequences resulting from the absence of hygiene and sanitation in the slums of Cotonou. The prevalence of diseases like Malaria, which is exacerbated by the presence of swamps and mosquitoes, further emphasized the need for immediate action. Esse firmly believes that by empowering local populations and authorities to take responsibility for the right to health, significant improvements can be achieved.

The Project’s Genesis and Motivation

Driven by the desire to make a difference, Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse initiated his project in Cotonou with the aim of fostering a healthy living environment for the communities residing near the river and lagoon. Through community mobilization and environmental cleanup activities, Esse sought to raise awareness and prompt local authorities to address the pressing issue of insalubrity. The project also places great importance on engaging the youth, recognizing their potential to contribute to environmental conservation efforts. By involving individuals of all ages and collaborating with local authorities, Esse envisions a healthier and more sustainable future for the region.

Recognizing the need for professional development and strategic guidance, Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse applied for the EXCELerator program. His motivation stemmed from the opportunity to learn from experienced mentors and gain valuable insights into project implementation and advocacy. Through the program, Esse honed his skills, deepened his knowledge on strategy development, and broadened his network. The capacity-building initiatives offered by the EXCELerator program empowered him to create a more significant impact in his community and amplify his efforts in environmental conservation.

Achievements and Lessons Learned Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse’s participation in the EXCELerator program has yielded fruitful outcomes for both his project and personal growth. By leveraging the knowledge gained through the program, he has enhanced the effectiveness of his project’s implementation and communication strategies. Esse has successfully conducted health community activities training, initiated sanitation and environmental cleanup initiatives, and engaged with local authorities through formal letters. These achievements demonstrate his commitment to effecting positive change in his community.

Envisioning the Future

Looking ahead, Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse aspires to witness lasting impact through his work. He hopes to see improved living conditions, reduced disease burden, and enhanced environmental sustainability in the communities near Cotonou’s lagoon shore. Esse plans to continue implementing his project, seeking financial support from environmental organizations to bolster its reach and effectiveness. By building upon the foundation laid during the capacity-building programs, Esse is confident that his project will contribute significantly to the overall well-being and health of the local population.

Ange-Marie Nicodème Esse’s dedication to environmental health and his relentless efforts in advocating for a clean and sustainable living environment in Cotonou are commendable. Through his project and participation in the EXCELerator program, Esse has demonstrated the transformative potential of capacity-building initiatives in empowering individuals to drive positive change. By raising awareness, mobilizing communities, and engaging with local authorities, Esse’s work serves as an inspiration for others striving to make a tangible impact on environmental conservation and public health.


Cidee Despi

Cidee Despi

CoalitionWILD Communications and Marketing Officer

Cidee Despi hopes to embody compassion that inspires action. As a development sector professional, she is committed to making social impact where she can, especially when it comes to her areas of interest: the youth, gender and development, and social justice to name a few. She has occupied various roles, from communications and partnerships to project and program management, all in support of impact-driven organizations. On the side, she writes about culture and politics. Currently, she is pursuing her law degree at the University of the Philippines.

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