HI works in Benin to improve people with disabilities' quality of life and promote their full participation in the country's economic and social life.
Using a hand cycle, HI Benin | © J. Cerda / HI
Actions in process
From 1999 - 2002, HI provided support to develop orthopaedic and functional rehabilitation services in Benin. The organisation then returned to the country in 2010, at the request of the Ministry of the Family and National Solidarity which asked them to deploy initiatives to control lymphatic filariasis, a highly disabling tropical disease. At the same time, HI also launched a project to promote the rights of people with disabilities in Cotonou, the seat of the country's government.
Today, the organisation continues to implement projects to build on the progress already made towards improving the inclusion of people with disabilities. Training courses are held in the city of Cotonou for people with political and administrative responsibilities, to encourage them to think about the physical accessibility of buildings; the importance of translating official documents into braille; and of offering school places to children with disabilities. Support is also provided to Disabled People's Organisations to help them improve how they are structured and ensure their voices are heard when the local authorities take decisions.
HI's teams in Benin also run a project which aims to improve the inclusion of children with disabilities in 20 primary schools. HI assists the schools to become physically accessible and works with teachers to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to provide quality teaching and support for all pupils. More than 350 children with disabilities and their parents are currently being supported through this project.
Finally, HI works with a demining training centre in Benin (the CPADD - the centre for advanced training in post-conflict mine clearance operations). The training modules are developed conjointly to improve the security of stockpiles of weapons and munitions, and to limit the risk of accidental explosions which harm hundreds of people across the world every year.
Situation of the country
The stable democracy in Benin since 1990 has greatly benefited the country, but the economic situation is still precarious, with almost half of the population living in extreme poverty.
It is very difficult for people with disabilities to access healthcare that is adapted to their needs. They are also rarely taken into account in development initiatives.