Training according to the Train the Trainer principle

Is it possible to have clothes made in Africa under good conditions? Are there tailors who would work for us? Would we be able to train people in the tailoring trade? What foundations would we need to lay locally? These considerations were the starting signal for the founding of our association with the aim of setting up our own training and vocational centre in the north of Benin. Without public and private sponsors, supporters and donors, we would never have got this far. Our vision is taking shape.

Training according to the Train the Trainer principle

Is it possible to have clothes made in Africa under good conditions? Are there tailors who would work for us? Would we be able to train people in the tailoring trade? What foundations would we need to lay locally? These considerations were the starting signal for the foundation of our association with the aim of setting up our own training and vocational centre in the north of Benin. Without public and private sponsors, supporters and donors, we would never have got this far. Our vision is taking shape.

Presidential Republic

Form of government

112622 km²

Area

13,4 million

Inhabitants (2022)

religions

42 % Christians, 28 % Muslims,
28 % traditional religions

60,9 %

Youth literacy rate
(2018)

+ 2,8 %

Population growth rate
(2021)

Country profile

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Benin borders Nigeria to the east, Niger and Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the west and the Bay of Benin to the south. Most of the inhabitants live in the south of the country around the economic center of Cotonou. At its narrowest point, Benin is just 100 kilometers wide; if you want to travel from the south to the north, you have to cover a good 700 kilometers.

ECONOMY

Under President Patrice Talon, the government is pursuing a course of economic reform. Among other things, the range and quality of vocational training is to be improved, companies strengthened, digitalization expanded, corruption combated and the influence of Islamist groups from the northern border regions pushed back.

RELIGION AND LANGUAGE

The state on the Gulf of Guinea is considered the cradle of voodoo and is the only country besides Haiti to officially recognize it as a religion. According to estimates, 11.6 percent of the population profess voodoo, including an increasing number of young Beninese men and women. In addition to French, more than 50 indigenous languages are spoken in the country.

TEXTILE AND TEXTILE INDUSTRY

Benin is the fourth largest cotton producer in Africa after Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. The fibers are exported, but are also used for local textile production. Fabrics with wax prints are known worldwide. However, the traditional-looking patterns do not come from Benin, but from the Netherlands. The Dutch company Vlisco still holds all the strings today.

TRAINING CENTER in Bersingou

Personnel development of the center in figures

Start 2020

1 trainer

Justine Tchialou Payarou
– our first trainer and namesake of the club

3 trainees

Status 2024

10 trainers
30 trainees
  • 22 apprentices in their 3rd year
  • 8 apprentices in their 1st year
13 employees
  • 1 master tailor from Germany
  • 1 teacher for reading and writing
  • 1 teacher for fashion theory
  • 1 technician
  • 1 bus driver
  • Administration: 4
  • Kitchen: 2
  • Garden: 2

Since 2020, we have been training young men and women in tailoring in the north of Benin. As part of a three-year dual apprenticeship, they are not only trained to carry out sewing work to a high standard, but also grow up to become trainers themselves. Some stay with us to accompany the following years. Some return to their home village and pass on their knowledge to their own students. This “train the trainer” approach is important to us right from the start. We don’t want to bind our trainers to us, but rather create a solid foundation together with them: for a life with options and prospects in their own country.

Since 2020, we have been training young men and women in tailoring in the north of Benin. As part of a three-year dual apprenticeship, they are not only trained to carry out sewing work to a high standard, but also grow up to become trainers themselves. Some stay with us to accompany the following years. Some return to their home village and pass on their knowledge to their own students. This “train the trainer” approach is important to us right from the start. We don’t want to bind our trainers to us, but rather create a solid foundation together with them: for a life with options and prospects in their own country.

Several buildings have been constructed in recent years, including a seminar building, a tailoring studio, a shop and a communal kitchen – a daycare centre will soon follow. Our motto: always keep people’s needs in mind and remain agile. What is important now, what will be important soon? The first studio baby has already been born and we want to keep mothers in the training process.

Our framework curriculum not only includes material science, cutting, sewing and ironing. The trainees are also taught design, construction, calculation, marketing, arithmetic, writing and foreign languages. They are also given the opportunity to reflect on themselves and their professional future as part of several coaching sessions: who am I, what do I want to achieve, how do I realise my goals?

All garments for our fashion label NOH NEE are now made entirely in Benin. There are also smaller orders from local schools and clinics. These are the first, important steps towards independence. Because even if we are still urgently dependent on funding and donations at the moment: Our medium-term goal is to transform the organisation into a social business.

News & Stories

Safely to training

Safely to training

Please be on time! In the north of Benin, this sentence has a slightly different meaning than in Germany. There is no public transport that runs at regular intervals and transports people safely to school, university or training every morning. In order to support our...

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With God’s blessing

With God’s blessing

We have been looking forward to this day for a long time. On 20 January 2024, we opened our centre to the public and celebrated the topping-out ceremony and inauguration all in one with the mayor, priests and interested parties from Bersingou. Most of the buildings...

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Tradition meets modernity

Tradition meets modernity

We didn't have to convince Felix Schürmann, professor of architecture at Biberach University of Applied Sciences, and his students. They were on board immediately. THE PROJECT JUSTINE - train the trainer not only offers the chance to really get to know the country and...

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THE PROJECT JUSTINE – train the trainer e.V.

Behind the organisation are Rahmée Wetterich and Marie Darouiche, founders of the Munich fashion label NOH NEE. With the success of their internationally renowned Dirndl à l’ Africaine, the question of a suitable production location quickly arose: In which country, on which continent do we want to have our clothes made in future? Under fair conditions and characterised by mutual interest, appreciation and respect. The search for a coherent answer led the founders to Benin in 2017 – even if production was initially out of the question. Not because there was a lack of seamstresses and tailors, but because there was no common understanding of how to sew trousers, a shirt or even a dirndl.

Today, THE PROJECT JUSTINE – train the trainer runs its own training and vocational centre in the north of Benin, where young women and men learn the tailoring trade from scratch and grow up to become trainers. The commitment is bearing fruit. The first students have been trained, are passing on their knowledge to the next generation and are being asked for their expertise by neighbouring countries. With the growing interest in West Africa as a production location for textiles, the need is evident everywhere: there is a lack of tailors who can process fabrics to a consistently high standard, as well as a lack of trainers who can train and instruct. The first co-operations and partnerships across national borders are emerging – always with the aim of creating long-term jobs.

We are grateful for the journey that lies behind us. And we look forward to the steps that will follow. Africa is on the move. We are moving with it.

Milestones

Team & Supporters

Our partners

CONCENTRATION ON SEVEN GOALS (SGDs) OF THE UNITED NATIONS

THE PROJECT JUSTINE
- train the trainer e.V.
Agricolaplatz 7
80687 Munich


+49 (0) 89 88 98 12 70
info@theprojectjustine.org

THE PROJECT JUSTINE - train the trainer e.V.
IBAN DE71 4306 0967 8237 2376 00
BIC GENODEM1GLS

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