The West African nation of Benin has experienced one of the most stable democracies in all of Africa. Despite this and recent economic growth, Benin remains one of the poorest nations in Africa and the world. Close to nine million people live in Benin and many still lack access to basic social services and remain dependent upon subsistence farming.
Our Work in Benin
The Hunger Project has been working in Benin since 1997 and is currently empowering partners in 15 epicentre communities to end their own hunger and poverty. Through its integrated approach to rural development, the Epicentre Strategy, The Hunger Project is working with people to successfully access the basic services needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and lead lives of self-reliance. Benin is increasingly suffering from climate change, there is a great shortage of food and the population of 9 million is highly dependent on agriculture.
Increasing Food Security
The Hunger Project in Benin empowers and supports farmers with training and materials to increase and diversify their food production.
Food banks at the epicentre, village and household levels help communities stay food secure in case of a shortage. The Hunger Project-Benin recently launched a pilot project, The Food Production Contest, which has successfully catalysed commitment to the end of hunger and poverty by increasing stocks in community food banks.
Improving Health and Hygiene
Epicentre health centres provide primary health care and immunisation programmes. They also teach men and women how to improve their health and hygiene.
“The Hunger Project has helped me to overcome my shyness with the VCA workshops. In addition I find it very important that through THP I have learned how to feed myself and my children better. I receive nutritional advice at the Health Centre, and am much more aware now of what constitutes a healthy diet. With a loan from the Credit Bank I have been able to improve my trade in corn and peanuts. I have even bought a motorbike from the profits. Now I don’t have to take a bus or taxi anymore to get my merchandise to market!” Suzanne, THP-Benin
The Hunger Project-Benin has pioneered a Family Planning and Nutritional Monitoring Community Dialogue Project in an effort to preserve the health of both women and children in the community. When births are spread out, children are invariably healthier and women have more time and energy to invest in their income-generating activities.
Adult and child literacy programmes conducted in local and national languages are being carried out in more than 30 literacy centres in The Hunger Project-Benin’s programme areas. The local government continues to support The Hunger Project-Benin with teachers and materials. In an effort to ensure that girls stay in school, The Hunger Project-Benin implemented a Mother’s Club which sensitises women to the benefits of sending girls to school. The programme has seen notable results such as a reduction in local child trafficking as well as an increase in literacy rates.
In the first half of 2012, THP-Benin exceeded its literacy targets with 1,525 adults (of which 75 percent were women) completing training programmes.
Our Microfinance Programme is a training, savings and loan programme that addresses a critical missing link for the end of hunger in Africa: the economic empowerment of the most important but least supported food producers on the continent – Africa’s women.
In 2012, The Hunger Project-Benin distributed 3823 loans totalling £425,000 across our Epicentre communities. 87% of loans were made to rural women farmers.
Partners in Benin now have deposits £444,666 in savings. Of the 15 Epicentres that are operating in Benin, four now have graduated to government-recognised Rural Banks.
Profits from microfinance programmes and newly established rural banks continue to be reinvested locally in each Epicentre Community.
Meet Pascal our Country Director in Benin, learn more about the key initiatives that are empowering people and ending hunger or take action now and get involved