Guinea-Bissau is part of the Africa West Cape regional programme. HI ran inclusive education projects here until March 2022 to ensure that children with disabilities had access to education. The association maintains a presence in the country with a view to developing new projects and strategic partnerships.
Group of children at school in Guinea-Bissau | © M.Moreiras / HI
Actions in process
HI first worked in Guinea-Bissau from 2000 to 2006. Its actions were focused on functional rehabilitation, with the creation of an orthopaedic centre, the economic inclusion of people with disabilities and the fight against mines and explosive remnants of war. In 2015, HI resumed its activities in Guinea-Bissau in the sectors of civil society support, inclusive education and HIV and disability.
Between 2020 and 2022, HI worked at the national level to ensure access to education for children with disabilities, supporting the creation of a Directorate General for Inclusive Education. HI also worked to improve the accessibility of school canteens and carried out awareness-raising activities on disability issues. The programme worked in the regions of Bissau, Cacheu, Oio, Bafatá and Biombo.
Situation of the country
Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world. Affected by chronic instability, the country faces many challenges.
Guinea-Bissau is a West African country on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, bordered to the north by Senegal, and to the east and south by the Republic of Guinea. Guinea-Bissau has a surface area of 36,120 sq.km, of which 28,000 sq.km is land and 8,120 sq.km is sea. The main cities are Bissau (the capital), Cacheu, Bafata and Gabu.
Political instability has had a serious impact on the Guinea-Bissau economy. The country’s growth is driven by the food-producing agricultural sector and by cashew nut production, which remains the cornerstone of the economy. This economic concentration has had direct consequences for the poorest members of the population in terms of inclusion and food security.
Because of past conflicts, weapons circulate in large numbers in Guinea-Bissau and each household owns at least one firearm. Initiatives to reduce the number of weapons in circulation have had little success so far.
Guinea Bissau is prone to natural disasters. Floods on low-lying land threaten to reduce the amount of land available to grow rice and vegetables, while rising sea levels and the lack of anti-salt dikes threaten the country’s mangrove crops. Cashew nut yields, the country’s main source of wealth, could also be hit by phytosanitary risks and the reduction in farmland caused by climate change.
Number of HI staff members: 3
Date the programme opened: 2000