The context

The Republic of Benin is a Francophone country in West Africa, which ranks 163 out of 186 countries in the 2018 Human Development Index.

The project is concentrated in the Department of Atacora, north-west of the country, an area characterized by a mountain range with an average height of 700 meters and degrading slopes that do not allow the development of abundant agricultural production.

Due to limited economic opportunities, there is a massive exodus of people to neighboring Nigeria looking for work every year in the area. The effect that follows is the abandonment of schools by children, in some cases forcibly as victims of trafficking due to labor exploitation. According to a study carried out by the Entrepreneurship Education Programs in Higher Education, out of 77 municipalities in Benin, 49.1% of pupils drop out of school in the classes corresponding to the 3rd, 4th and 5th year of primary school in the Italian system.

If the phenomenon of early school leaving is not managed quickly, the economic development of the villages will remain precarious due to the lack of qualified human resources and educated and responsible citizens. Faced with this threat, the fight against early school leaving appears today not only as a challenge for the educational system of Benin, but above all as a credible response to reduce inequalities within the country.

Mani Tese has been working in Benin since the late 1980s and has been officially registered since 1996. To date he has carried out over 200 projects in the most various fields.

Toucountouna, Department of Atakora, Benin

TouKountouna, Benin

Kouandé, Department of Atakora, Benin

Kouandé, Benin

Natitingou, Department of Atakora, Benin

Natitingou, Benin

The Objectives

The project aims to reduce the disparities in access to educational services in the reference area, giving to children the opportunity to complete their school path and thus build a dignified future.

Activities will be carried out to reduce early school leaving with the involvement of teachers, parents’ associations, local authorities and reference communities and awareness-raising activities for students most at risk on the right to education, promoting their involvement in prevention courses of the phenomenon.

In some cases, in fact, it is the children themselves who want to leave school to try the adventure of Nigeria and start earning money, easily being conditioned by unscrupulous intermediaries who manage a real human trafficking system.

Project Details



Department of Atacora, 9 villages in the municipalities of Toucountouna, Kouandé e Natitingou,


600 students and their families

The Activities

Monitoring of presences at school and cases of early school leaving. In each school involved, a committee for monitoring school attendance will be set up, consisting of five people who will receive training from Mani Tese. The committee will report the students who have recorded more than five absences during the month and will evaluate the appropriate measures. For the cases considered most at risk, a synergistic action will be launched between school authorities and local government authorities in order to involve the pupils’ families and investigate the causes of absences.

The committee will also take charge of promoting the importance of schooling and raising awareness of the risks of early school leaving.

Support for families at risk of abandonment. Activities will be carried out to meet the income and food needs of families with children at risk of dropping out of school, thus preventing them from having to work without completing the primary school cycle. The mothers will be involved in the groups of women promoted by Mani Tese who deal with the transformation and marketing of cassava, shea and soy and will actively participate in income-generating activities. For the most problematic cases, a contribution is foreseen for the family’s agricultural activities with the purchase of seeds and agricultural tools.

Radio broadcasts to raise awareness on the issue of early school leaving. In order to create widespread knowledge about the problem of early school leaving, but also about possible solutions, five radio broadcasts broadcast by local radio stations will be made. Some will have the pupils themselves as protagonists, so that they transmit awareness and appeal messages to their parents about their desire to continue their studies, as well as to invite their peers who have left school to return to school.

Civic education courses. In each of the schools involved, a civic education course is planned for students that will concern the rights and duties of the child with particular attention to the right to education, the benefits of schooling and the dangers associated with early school leaving.

Civic education manual. For some time now Mani Tese has been working on the creation of a civic education manual as a guide for the paths organized in collaboration with the schools and which can then remain with the directors and teachers of the schools so that they themselves will conduct the courses in the future.

Manual activity laboratory. The girls will spend a day at the women’s group transformation workshops to understand the importance of education also in manual activities, such as the transformation of food products. To carry out this activity, in fact, you need calculation and programming skills but also basic mathematical knowledge, as well as writing and speaking skills to be able to negotiate the selling price of the products and define contracts with buyers.

Communication and exchange with Italian schools. Promotion of a global citizenship education path at the State Comprehensive School “A. Volta” in Mandello del Lario with the visit of a representative from Benin for exchange activities between schools. Mani Tese trainers will involve the classes in an interactive and thematic path, aimed at deepening the meaning of children’s rights. This will help the students to frame the topic of social exclusion, gender inequality and main and secondary causes.