The context

The Republic of Benin is a French-speaking country in West Africa, at 163rd place among 189 countries in the 2018 Human Development Index. The project is concentrated in the department of Atacorà, located in the north-west, on the border with Togo and Burkina Faso, and in particular, in Toucountouna and Kouandé, two of the nine municipalities of which it is composed.

Regarding women in the rural economy, the level of discrimination is very high, even from school age when many girls are forced to leave school to take care of the house (younger siblings, water supply, etc.). In Benin, women perform most of the domestic and economic chores, taking on a whole range of tasks ranging from the preparation of food, to the supply of water within the family, until the cultivation and processing of foodstuffs. However, this fundamental role in society is not recognized in terms of rights: according to the gender inequality Index, Benin occupies the 163rd position among 189 countries considered. Moreover, women rarely own the land, participate in the decision-making processes of their communities and have sufficient financial resources to ensure a dignified life for themselves and their children.


Kouandé, Dipartimento di Atakora, Benin


Toucountouna, Dipartimento di Atakora, Benin

The Objectives

The proposed action consisted in three components: the first one was carried out in schools, involving students, parents and teachers about the importance of girls completing their studies and the recognition of equal citizenship rights. The second component provided for increasing women’s awareness of their rights and their implementation. The third component provided for supporting families, and in particular women, to rediscover and subsequently produce traditional agricultural speculation with good nutritional potential.

The objectives were:

  • To promote greater awareness of parents, teachers and children themselves, about the dangers associated with the phenomenon of the early school leaving of girls.
  • To contribute to raising women’s awareness of their citizenship rights and subsequent participation in civil life.
  • To support 100 families in the production, consumption and marketing of traditional local products.
Project Details



Department of Atacorà, municipalities of Toucountouna and Kouandé,


1500 people

The Activities

Courses in civic education in four schools involved. Each school received three courses of civic education composed by different modules of information, education and communication also using movies and videos. The themes of the courses were the rights and duties of the girls and the history of the evolution of women’s rights in Beninese society. Each course started with a problematic situation, so that a debate could be launched to enable students to show how to deal with them.

Elaboration of a manual of civic education of II° level. This manual was a continuation of the first elaborated on a previous project. It developed new information to support the development of training modules. Teachers could use the manual to continue training in their school once the project was completed.

Seminar about problems related to early school leaving at the beginning of the project and workshop summarizing the results obtained at the end of the project. To understand better the situation of early school leaving in the villages, a seminar was organised at the beginning of the project, which allowed managers to present a report on the situation of early school leaving in their school. Various activities were organised to share experiences of contrasting dispersion. In addition, at the end of the project, a workshop was organised to evaluate the activities carried out in schools and their impact on each reality.

Organisation of a manual activity session for girls in the women’s groups laboratories of transformation. The students participated in a working day with their mothers about the production of tapioca, derived from manioc. This is to make them understand the importance of education also for the realization of manual work.

Communication and exchange with Italian schools. The schools were already equipped with tablets. There was a training for their use for students, in particular for the preparation of small and short videos. Once presentations were ready, they were sent to an Italian school twinned that answered, using technology too.

Radio awareness programme on women’s rights and their role in society. A 24 radio broadcasts by two different local radio stations reached the population of the two target municipalities: Toucountouna and Kouandè. There were also interactive broadcasts where girls and especially women, invited during these programs, shared their experiences through testimonials.

Training module for women on civil rights and duties. Each group of women involved in the activity received two lessons of civic education with the use of video media.

Development of a manual on civic education for women. It supported civic education courses for women, and was entrusted to the groups of women who used it to manage their meetings addressing the different themes that are covered.

Realization of three school camps for agricultural production. Each of the school fields had an extension of 1 hectare and guaranteed the cultivation, through a system of rotation, of 0.2 hectares for each of five crops provided. To carry out the activities, it was necessary to equip each field with a kit of basic agricultural tools (hoes, machetes and axes) and seeds.

Training courses about soil fertility management and agricultural production of households. Practical training courses were organised at school camps involving at least one representative of the 100 families involved in the intervention. Each family then received the pre-basic seeds of three of the five expected speculations to use it for multiplication of the seed. For the Fonio, yellow corn and sesame are recommended at least 0.25 hectares of land while for yellow yam and sweet potato 0.1.

Collection of data about the results of the agricultural year. With a GPS, the fields involved in the agricultural campaign were recorded and then the coordinates will be combined with the production data of each field. This is to verify the results of the activities and where necessary to intervene with the greater presence of the project leaders to better follow the producers.

Project Partners: