Following a request from Benin’s government in 2010, Handicap International set up projects to reduce the impact of the disabling disease lymphatic filariasis, improve road safety, and promote the rights of people with disabilities. The organization first intervened in Benin in 1999 through 2002, and now employs seven national staff members and one expatriate staff member.
Benin has enjoyed a stable democracy since 1990, although its economic situation remains fragile: 47.2% of the population lives in extreme poverty according to the 2011 UN Human Development Report. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 840,000 people have disabilities in Benin, around 84,000 of whom need to be fitted with orthopedic devices.
- Inclusive Development
- Inclusive Education
- Support to the CPADD (Center for Development of Post-Conflict Demining and Clearance Actions)
- Road safety
In the district of Cotonou, Handicap International works with civil society organizations to ensure that people with disabilities can be vocal and active members of society. Specific activities of this project include building the capacities of local disabled persons organizations through development training and awareness-raising sessions, encouraging local officials to translate government documents into braille, and collaborating with the Ministry for the Environment, Housing and Town Planning to make sure accessibility is taken into account in district development and construction plans.
Handicap International's teams in Benin run a project to improve the inclusion of children with disabilities in the 20 primary schools in the municipalities of Cotonou and Abomey Calavi. Healthcare, advice on education and careers, teacher training, and work to guarantee accessibility is all part of Handicap International's efforts to ensure these children can benefit from the same education as every other child. Some 350 children with disabilities benefit from this project.
Support to the CPADD (Center for Development of Post-Conflict Demining and Clearance Actions)
Handicap International works with the Center for Development of Post-Conflict Demining and Clearance Actions (CPADD), a demining training center in Benin. The training modules are developed together to improve the security of weapons and munitions stockpiles, and to limit the risk of accidental explosions, which harm hundreds of people across the world every year. Handicap International has also previously run technical and managerial training courses for CPADD staff. Through building the capacity of the CPADD in Benin, Handicap International seeks to the country's demining efforts and safety of weapons stockpiles as a whole.
Handicap International is one of the few international organizations addressing road safety issues in Benin. In 2014, despite a lack of funding to implement the project, the organization remained closely involved in monitoring the actions conducted by its partner organizations and institutions, and provided them with technical and material assistance, such as awareness-raising tools, helmets, etc.