You are here

Co-op in Benin

January 27, 2016

About Me 

Cheick Oumar Kone is originally from Bamako, Mali, and is currently a senior at Northeastern University in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has decided to do his 3rd co-op in Benin because he enjoys travelling and learning about new cultures.

Co-op in Benin

During my international co-op in Benin, I experienced a new culture, met new people, and learned a new language.

My international co-op in Benin was at SOGEA-SATOM. SOGEA-SATOM is a French company with head office in France but has agencies in almost every country in Africa. Their agency in Benin named SOGEA-SATOM Benin and their agency in Maroc named SOGEA-MAROC are in charge of completing tasks, which are related to the bridge construction project. The bridge construction project took place between the border of Togo and Benin that is separated by the mono river. The principal location of the project is in Athieme, Benin, approximately 62 miles from the capital of Benin, which is Cotonou. 

Important information to know about the bridge construction include: A total length of 152 m for a height of 3.5 m above the construction site and a width of 10 m. The path is 420 m from the coast Benin and 345 m from the coast Togo. The cross-section of the work consists of a roadway with a 7.5 m wide and sidewalks of 1.25 m. The infrastructure will consist of a deep type foundation with rectangular footings in reinforced concrete, based on piles of a meter in diameter inked in the soil at depths between 26 and 30 m.

On this bridge construction site, I have been of assistance in the prefabrication of beams that include formwork; establishment of girdles; inkings concrete, and prestressed works. I have developed better leadership skills and learned to keep the team motivated and ready to work. Performing duties during this international co-op such as assisting the Project Engineer to organize, supervise, and manage a bridge construction project is an asset to my career and will enhance my skills in terms of communication on the job and management. I have also understood the ups and downs of working as a Project Engineer and took note of that in my future career in Civil Engineering. I have enhanced the skills required for collaborative and multidisciplinary work that are critical for teamwork in my professional life. I believe this international co-op has been a great opportunity for me to gain a competitive edge in the international workforce and begin to set up international networks. This practical experience will help me in the future to take initiative and to be creative when managing my personal business or my company.

The construction of the bridge will improve the community needs, facilitate access to the main road, and reduce traffic. The citizens of Benin will be able to produce and sell more products.  The bridge will bring these isolated villages closer to the city of Benin. It will improve the country’s economy, reduce transportation costs, and accelerate agricultural production and the exploitation of natural resources.

The international co-op has enabled me to have a good knowledge in concrete design, and to know the quantities of concrete to be used for certain types of project. I have also developed good management skills. I am sure and confident that if the opportunity is given to me, I can manage a bridge construction project. In conclusion, the international co-op has been great, I thank everyone that worked with me and rendered help to me in one way or the other during my stay there.