Though increasingly stable, Benin faces many challenges such as a low adult literacy rate.
In spite of recent economic growth, Benin remains one of the poorest nations in Africa and the world. Close to 10 million people live in Benin, many of whom still lack access to basic social services and remain dependent upon subsistence farming, which is threatened by climate change, further endangering already fragile livelihoods.
The coastal West African nation of Benin, bordered by Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Togo, has one of the most stable democracies in all of Africa, though with very high levels of corruption.
Our Work in Benin
In Africa, The Hunger Project works to build sustainable community-based programmes using the Epicentre Strategy. An epicentre is a dynamic centre of community mobilisation and action, as well as an actual facility built by community members. Through the Epicentre Strategy, 15,000-25,000 people are brought together as a cluster of rural villages, giving villages more clout with local government than a single village is likely to have while also increasing a community’s ability to collectively utilise resources. The epicentre building serves as a focal point where the motivation, energies and leadership of the people converge with the resources of local government and non-governmental organisations. Over an eight-year period, an epicentre addresses hunger and poverty and moves along a path toward sustainable self-reliance, at which point it is able to fund its own activities and no longer requires financial investment from The Hunger Project.
The Hunger Project – Benin is comprised of 18 epicentres. These epicentres serve an area of 138 villages and a population of 311,073.
There are four broad phases through which all epicentre communities progress: Mobilization (I), Construction (II), Programme Implementation (III) and Transition to Self-reliance (IV). Though the majority of the epicentres in Benin are in stage III of the epicentre process, four are in stage IV and one is in stage I. Three epicentres in Benin have graduated to self-reliance.
The Hunger Project has been working in Benin since 1997. Through its integrated approach to rural development, the Epicentre Strategy, The Hunger Project is working with community partners to successfully access the basic services needed to lead lives of self-reliance and achieve internationally agreed-upon markers of success, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
Photography credits: Banner image – Johannes Ode