For details of countries involved (many in Africa) and to apply to join the research team, see http://globalintegrity.org/blog/web-index-hiring
Senegal was my first contact with Africa and I enjoyed each coin of it and every encounter – and I must admit I had many interesting meetings and exchanges, from the president of the Senegalese platform of NGOs to the local artists who sell ear rings made of coconut shell for example.
Benin followed Nigeria, a “hot” country from many points of view. It was a bit difficult to adapt, but I am happy to have been there – one cannot say to know Africa without knowing Nigeria. Besides this, I had the pleasure to meet friends and youth activists and to organize a Kabissa Roundtable in Lagos.
After having had the opportunity to meet the newest Kabissa volunteer in Portugal, I continued my travels with Benin. I have lived for one month in Cotonou and I find that the best word describing the atmosphere here is “calm”. My impression about Benin is that for a person who had no contact with Africa, this is a terrific place to make a first volunteer experience. It is perfectly secure, people are warm and they do not negotiate at all as they did in Senegal (and Nigeria), from the price of the water and taxi, to any souvenir/clothes article you would like to buy (which for some people might be tiring and unpleasant – for me it was just fun). And another point, in Benin I had the feeling that people took their responsibility for development completely in their hands. The shadows of colonialism, of injustice and inequalities are not as much felt. Therefore the frustration is barely present. This makes it a very nice environment for anything from work to tourism.
I will be staying here until the end of this week (8th of March). The rainy season will catch me in Togo/Lome. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to meet any Kabissa members in Cotonou (there are 12 NGO Kabissa members in Benin). But I do hope that I will have the opportunity to do so in Lome. There are 36 Kabissa members (NGOs or individuals) in Lome only. It would be nice to have some face to face contact in Togo, besides the virtual one.
The picture is in Ouidah (Benin) - the pythons temple.