U.S. Ambassador Shukan Presents Sikien Preservation Project to Minister Abimbola

U.S. Ambassador Brian Shukan met with Minister of Culture Jean-Michel Abimbola on May 3 to discuss a project to protect and conserve the cultural area of Koutammakou that sits along Benin’s northern border with Togo. The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) awarded a 120 million CFA grant to U.S. based organization World Monuments Fund (WMF) to undertake this two-year project in collaboration with Benin-based NGO Corps des Volontaires Béninois (CVB).
The main goal of this project is to preserve the building tradition of the Takienta, a two-story traditional dwelling made of earth that defines the identity of the Batammariba people. In addition to promoting the conservation of the Koutammakou cultural landscape, the project will enable the development of micro-entrepreneurial activities by women to reduce human pressure on ecosystems and increase resources available to invest in Sikien (plural for Takienta) conservation. The project also includes working with traditional builders to transmit their knowledge to the next generation.
Ambassador Shukan and Minister Abimbola also discussed the Ministry’s goals for 2023 and the areas for future collaboration between the United States and Benin.
This will be the 6th and largest AFCP award in Benin. The two-year project will help the Batammariba people build resilience to external threats and improve livelihoods. It will also help preserve the Batammariba people’s way of life and identity. Over the last twenty years, the United States has invested more than two hundred million CFA to preserve cultural landmarks, sites, and practices across Benin.