With its 9.9 million inhabitants, Benin was ranked 163 out of 188 on the 2018 Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Beninese economy is largely based on agriculture, trade and the transit of goods through the Autonomous Port of Cotonou. Women predominate in the informal sector, where their work is not recognized or fairly remunerated. Young people, meanwhile, make up more than 68% of the population and face a high unemployment rate.
For the past three decades, Benin had been a stable, democratic country until a recent post-election crisis led to a reduction in citizen participation and the engagement of women and young people in politics.
Oxfam in Benin
We have been working in Benin since 1985. Oxfam’s vision for the country is: “A just Benin without poverty, where marginalized segments of the population, particularly young women and men, exercise their rights, particularly the right to sustainable food, to ensure their livelihoods and to be treated as equals”.
Promoting gender equality
With our local partners, we are working to put an end to inequalities between women and men in three main areas: removing obstacles to women’s access to quality essential services (education, sexual and reproductive health, protection); ending violence against women and girls; and improving the role of women in decision-making processes that affect society.
Oxfam in Benin supports communities with the implementation of advocacy actions designed to change – at the local, national and regional levels – practices, attitudes, beliefs, and regulations that perpetuate inequalities between men and women. The #SayEnough! (#ÇaSuffit!) campaign that aims to end violence against women and girls has achieved a high level of visibility in the country and the West Africa region.
Stimulating employment and improving food security for women and youth
To enable women and youth to play an active and responsible role in the country’s social, economic, and cultural life, they must be given tools to help them meet their needs and to eat and live healthily. To that end, with our local partners, we support the integration of women and young people into the labour market and help them bring about sustainable agricultural development (vocational training, entrepreneurship, adaptation to climate change). We are also improving the living and health conditions of the population by improving access to safe drinking water and promoting practices linked to hygiene and environmental protection (changes of behavior, waste management, prevention and management of natural disasters).