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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.

Actions in process

HI works to improve the vocational and economic inclusion of people with disabilities in Benin through awareness raising, training and advocacy. The 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 works with the authorities and schools to ensure that children have access to education and that the inclusive approach is developed in Benin. The programme seeks to improve education policies and strategies at national level and ensures that teachers have the knowledge and skills required to provide quality teaching and support to all students. Teams also support the families of children with disabilities by organising consultations and referring children to care centres, according to their needs.

To ensure that the most vulnerable populations are taken into account, HI’s teams train humanitarian actors to analyse priority needs and improve the impact of the aid provided. The programme works with the other NGOs present in the country to ensure that they give greater consideration to the specific needs of certain populations, such as the people with disabilities, older people and women. HI is also developing logistical expertise that gives it a very precise understanding of the needs and vulnerabilities of populations. Armed with this knowledge, our teams advise humanitarian actors on setting up projects that promote the resilience of communities and their ability to recover on their own.

They also work with organisations of people with disabilities and civil society organisations that combat violence against women and girls, particularly those with disabilities, supporting them through training and the sharing of good practice to maximise the impact of their action.

Finally, HI’s programme is working with a demining training centre in Benin, the CPADD (Centre de perfectionnement aux actions post-conflictuelles de déminage et de dépollution). Training modules have been developed to improve the safety of stocks of conventional weapons and ammunition, thereby limiting the risk of accidental explosions, which claim hundreds of victims worldwide every year. Teams also work with government bodies on risk education, helping to design awareness-raising tools for all audiences and training staff in risk education.

Areas of intervention


Situation of the country

Benin has enjoyed a stable democracy since 1990, but its economic situation remains fragile, with the vast majority of the working population dependent on the informal economy and agriculture.

The Republic of Benin is a West African country located in the Gulf of Guinea. Porto-Novo is its political capital and Cotonou is its economic capital. Benin's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture and the informal trade of re-export and transit to Nigeria (accounting 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.

Since August 2023, Benin’s borders with Niger have been closed as part of ECOWAS sanctions in protest at the coup d'état. This has had a negative impact on activities at the autonomous port of Cotonou, as goods pass through here on their way to Niger. Prices of essential goods have also soared. Despite the absence of official figures, everything points to a negative impact of this closure on Benin's economy.

In Benin, people with disabilities are still highly stigmatised, with disability perceived as a curse or a punishment. This perception is gradually changing, thanks largely to the awareness-raising and advocacy work carried out by organisations of people with disabilities. However, access to education, employment or adapted health care remains difficult and people with disabilities are still not taken into consideration in development initiatives.

Number of HI staff: 44

Programmed opened in: 1999

Map of HI's interventions in Benin
© R. Binard / HI