In Benin, HI is working to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and promote their full participation in the country’s economic and social life.
Young boy who can walk again thanks to community based rehabilitation sessions he can benefit. He is able to go to school and is included in mainstream school. | © R. Binard / HI
Actions in process
HI works to improve the vocational and economic inclusion of people with disabilities in Benin through awareness-raising, training and advocacy. Our programme supports the creation of inclusive businesses and develops guidance and financial support mechanisms to promote access to employment for people with disabilities. Our teams work with the authorities, companies and training centres to facilitate the participation of people with disabilities in the political debate and to support advocacy actions aimed at securing their inclusion in the world of work.
HI also supports organisations of people with disabilities to develop their capacities and make their structures sustainable. With the aim of helping the disabled community to participate fully in society and in the development of public policies, our teams carry out accessibility assessments, strengthen the capacities and skills of disability organisations and support their development at the local and national level.
HI’s teams also work with the authorities and schools to ensure that children have access to education by improving educational policies and strategies at the national level and ensuring that teachers have the knowledge and skills required to provide quality teaching and support for all pupils.
To ensure that the vulnerable populations are taken into account, HI trains humanitarian actors to analyse priority needs and improve the impact of their assistance. Our teams support organisations of people with disabilities and civil society organisations fighting violence against women and girls, especially those with disabilities through training and the sharing of good practices.
Lastly, HI works with a demining training centre in Benin (CPADD - Centre for advanced training in post-conflict demining and decontamination operations).The training modules are developed to improve the security of weapons stockpiles and conventional weapons and to limit the risk of accidental explosions that cause hundreds of casualties worldwide every year.
Situation of the country
Benin has had a stable democracy since 1990, but the economic situation is still fragile, with almost half of the population living in extreme poverty. A large majority of the working population depends on the informal economy and farming.
The Republic of Benin is a West African country located in the Gulf of Guinea, with Porto-Novo as its political capital and Cotonou as its economic capital. Benin's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and the informal trade of re-export and transit to Nigeria (which accounts for about 20% of GDP). The informal economy is thought to represent 65% of total activity and concern more than 90% of the working population.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected major sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, transport and trade, slowing the country's economic growth.
In Benin, people with disabilities are still highly stigmatised, with disability perceived as a curse or a punishment. This perception is gradually changing, thanks in particular to the awareness-raising and advocacy work carried out by organisations of people with disabilities. However, access to education, employment or adapted care remains difficult and people with disabilities are still not taken into account in development initiatives.
Number of HI staff members: 23
Date the programme opened: 1999