The West African nation of Benin has experienced one of the most stable democracies in all of Africa. Despite this and recent economic growth, Benin remains one of the poorest nations in Africa and the world. Close to nine million people live in Benin and many still lack access to basic social services and remain dependent upon subsistence farming.
The Hunger Project has been working in Benin since 1997 and is currently empowering over 31,000 partners in 12 epicenter communities to end their own hunger and poverty. Through its integrated approach to rural development, the Epicenter Strategy, The Hunger Project is working with partners to successfully access the basic services needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and lead lives of self-reliance.
Increasing Food Security
The Hunger Project-Benin empowers and support farmers with trainings and materials to increase and diversify their food production. While Benin does not suffer from major droughts or floods, there is nevertheless a great shortage of food.
Food banks at the epicenter, village and household levels help communities stay food secure in case of a shortage. The Hunger Project-Benin recently launched a pilot project, The Food Production Contest, which has successfully catalyzed partners' commitment to the end of hunger in poverty by increasing stocks in community food banks.
Improving Health and Hygiene
Epicenter health centers provide primary health care and immunizations. They also teach men and women how to improve their health and hygiene.
The Hunger Project-Benin has pioneered a Family Planning and Nutritional Monitoring Community Dialogue Project in an effort to preserve the health of both women and children in the community. When births are spread out, children are invariably healthier and women have more time and energy to invest in their income-generating activities.
Adult and child literacy programs conducted in local and national languages are being carried out in more than 30 literacy centers in The Hunger Project-Benin's program areas. The local government continues to support The Hunger Project-Benin with teachers and materials.
In an effort to ensure that girl children stay in school, The Hunger Project-Benin implemented a Mother's Club which sensitizes women to the benefits of sending girls to school. The program has seen notable results such as a reduction in local child trafficking as well as an increase in literacy rates.
To date, the total The Hunger Project-Benin has distributed US$1,279,841 in microcredit, and a cumulative total of 3,917 partners have received loans in the epicenters. The current cumulative repayment rate stands at 87.23 percent.