Benin, which until 1975 was called Dahomey, became independent in 1960.

The ethnic heterogeneity of the new state and economic difficulties led to political instability characterized by repeated coups d’etat until the advent, in 1972, of a Marxist-Leninist government presided over by Mathieu Kérékou.

Kérékou, repeatedly in power for several decades (from 1972 to 1991, then from 1996 to 2006), in 2006 was unable to reapply having exceeded the limits of the mandates provided for in the Constitution. The elections held this year saw the affirmation of the independent candidate T. Boni Yayi. In the following years the slowdown in economic growth, a financial scandal that costed thousands of Beninesi the loss of savings, and corruption negatively affected the popularity of Boni Yayi, who was however “reconfirmed” as president in the 2011 elections, contested by the opposition. Boni Yayi – several times at the center of the controversy over the alleged attempts to amend the Constitution and remain in power – did not appear at the presidential elections in March 2016. Overturning the result of the first round, the cotton entrepreneur Talon dominated the ballot against the Premier Zinsou.

Benin remains a poor and heavily underdeveloped country: unemployment and underemployment are indeed very pronounced phenomena. About 50% of the active population practice agriculture and the main plantations are corn and manioc. 



Mani Tese is in Benin since 1979. 

In Benin, Mani Tese concentrates its operations in the Atakorà region, characterized by levels of development lower than in the rest of the country due to the geographical peculiarities of the territory. Atakorà is considered “the water castle of Benin”: a large part of the water that comes from the rains is drained towards the south, which is economically more active and developed. Access to water from safe sources is a priority in the intervention of Mani Tese in Benin, pursued through the construction of wells. 

This sector is supported by the construction of schools and classrooms to guarantee the right to education of boys and girls – with particular attention to school gardens and environmental education on the one hand and civic and citizenship education on the other. Moreover, over the years, the relationship with the world of education in Italy has consolidated, in synergy with the Global Citizenship Education activities developed in Milan. 

In addition to the structural interventions, the ongoing projects support the development of production activities both with economic-food interventions and microcredit interventions. Many activities have as their objective the transition towards food sovereignty for the beneficiaries and to achieve it, agroecological practices and techniques are promoted. Mani Tese supports associations and groups of women  who produce manioc, peanut, soy, shea tree, findi, sesame and some local species of corn. 

With regard to the environment sector, work continues on an educational level with training courses for technicians and tree planting. 

As for the areas of intervention, the priority of our actions is the north of the country, in particular at the Department of Atacora – a context that Mani Tese knows well and where it is known and recognized by both communities and authorities. Mani Tese has a local office in the city of Natitingou (capital of the department) which collaborates with various local realities such as local organizations, grassroots groups, associations of parents and students of primary schools, local authorities and other institutions.

country details

163 Ranking [UNDP, 2017]
98/1000 [younger than 5 years old. UNICEF, 2018] 63/1000 [younger than 1 year old. WHO, 2018]
0.34‰ [UNAIDS, 2018]
66% [WHO, 2018]
Country Representative in Benin


My name is Achille Tepa and I was born on May 12, 1959 in Kandi (Alibori department). From 1965 to 1976, I did primary and secondary studies in Natitingou until the third year. From 1977 to 1979, I completed my secondary studies in Parakou obtaining a baccalaureate A4 (literature). In 1980, I had to perform compulsory military service, civic and patriotic while I was […]