Benin

Projects in Benin

Agriculture

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS
The purpose of the Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) project is to increase food security in Beninese communities, whereby households have enough nutrient-rich foods to eat throughout the year, sufficient income to access available food, and the economic stability and resilience to achieve long-term food security. This will be achieved by the following four goals:

Goal 1: Increase productivity and diversity of household food production;
Goal 2: Households increase consumption of nutrient-rich foods;
Goal 3: Increase households’ income through agriculture-based income generating
             activities (IGAs);
Goal 4: Increase households’ capacity for personal money management.

SAS Volunteers are involved in the following activities:
• Promoting best agricultural practices and improved production techniques; 
• Encouraging conservation and transformation techniques to increase the value added to
  harvested crops; 
• Training and coaching students in secondary schools and women’s groups on
  entrepreneurship and creating clubs at the school level related to food security;
• Providing training and management advisory services to food security related individuals
  and groups on business planning, marketing, added value, product, and service quality, basic
  financial management, etc.; 
• Helping individuals and groups of producers conduct feasibility studies, business plans,
  project design and management, development of action plans, saving schemes, and yearly
  budgets;
• Promoting community and school gardens for food security and potential income generation.

Education

EDUCATION
In line with the Ministry of Education’s priorities, the purpose of the TEFL project that Beninese students, teachers and the community as a whole will gain access to personal, professional and academic opportunities through English.

Goal 1: Improve Teaching
Goal 2:  Increase student success
Goal 3:  Improve the school community

Volunteers will be part of the TEFL (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language) Certification program. Upon completion of two years of service, Volunteers will receive certification through the Center of Applied Linguistics in Washington.

A TEFL Volunteer's primary duties will entail:
• Developing lesson plans and teaching as many as 200 students (not all in one class) so that
  they will be prepared for the following year of study and the national examination
• Designing lesson plans and team-teaching with host country national (HCN) teachers on a
  weekly basis
• Submitting lesson plan two weeks before your site visit and teaching observation
• Participating in six (6) Online Learning Community (OLC) discussion sessions
• Motivating students to learn English and introducing creative thinking techniques and
  integrating important themes such as malaria, food security, hygiene and sanitation, in
  and outside of class
• Helping students find ways to put into practice their English skills in daily life
• Developing and introducing new texts, materials, and teaching aids based on locally
  available materials affordable to the school and the students
• Participating in weekly faculty meetings, grading tests and supervising students
• Creating and facilitating an English club in the secondary school and facilitating
  extracurricular activities, involving students’ participation in school improvement
  projects and implementing at least one activity or project per academic year

Health

RURAL COMMUNITY HEALTH
The purpose of the Rural Community Health Program is to assist Beninese individuals and communities in improving their overall health and well-being through disease prevention and health promotion activities. This program focuses on two main goals:

Goal 1: Maternal, neonatal and child health, with a focus on nutrition;
Goal 2: Disease prevention and healthy practices – specifically hygiene and sanitation, malaria,
            HIV/AIDS and promotion of reproductive health with adolescents and youth

All Health Volunteers are expected to conduct the following activities during their two years of service; while these activities are required, Volunteers are encouraged to work with their community partners to tailor the activities to the needs of the community:

      • Developing  community support groups to address specific community health issues by
         identifying, training, and following up leader mothers; and
      • Implementing the peer education curriculum Amour & Vie (Love & Life) in developed by 
        international NGO PSI to address youth health issues.                                                                                                                                                          

Many Volunteers also conduct the following activities in conjunction with their support groups and Amour & Vie groups:

      • Working with health care professionals to better define and promote balanced nutrition
         among pregnant and breast feeding mothers and children under the age of five; 
      • Providing malaria education to young people and influential community members so that
         they will initiate local action aimed at behavior change;
      • Assisting with the organization of village-based immunization and baby-weighing
        sessions; 
      • Providing health education focused on nutrition and disease prevention (HIV/AIDS,
        malaria and diarrhea);
      • Assisting your community with better use of water and sanitation tools and promoting
        behavior change ;
      • Working with local groups to create or improve gardens providing increased sources of
        nutrition;
      • Working with NGOs to develop sustainable projects in the community.

Let Girls Learn

GENDER EQUITY
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment as the CSPP for Benin is firmly established, and engages PCV’s throughout all sectors while encouraging reporting and full participation from all. It was great to read the pages and pages of PCVs’ Gender activities. Volunteers working with the Beninese communities implement projects that motivate, inspire, and educate girls, boys and Beninese women to update their potential and contribute to the development of their country. Considering that it is the communities themselves who have their own cultures, strengths, needs and resources, GenEq Benin always seeks the maximum cooperation of women, men, and children of the target groups in its programs. Programs vary greatly in size and nature and are always evolving to meet the needs of each community.

Mission of GenEq
• Gender equality and women’s empowerment are foundational to the way Peace Corps Benin
  approaches development
• All volunteers are encouraged to integrate this concept in their work
• In doing so, we hope to
        • Work with the Beninese community to motivate and inspire women and girls to realize
          their potential and contribute equally to the development of their country.
        • Diminish the disparity in gender equality through the cooperation of all genders

Scholarship Girls Program (SGP)
SGP has been functioning since 1995 and since then has helped hundreds of Beninese girls find the means to go to and stay in school by providing them school fees, new uniforms and school supplies.

Student Internship program (SIP)
The main goal of the SIP program is to offer four week long Internships to Senior Secondary school students (boys and girls) through a partnership with both international and local NGOs (such as Plan/Benin, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, Population Services International, Equifilles) in order to enable students to develop professional skills and comfort in a forum to discuss women’s rights and empowerment issues.

Other GenEq PCV led activities
Girls’ clubs which vary in focus: leadership, soccer, English, entrepreneurship, environment, gender equity and more, Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) and Camp BRO (Boys Respecting Others), tutoring, mentoring, and much more.

President's Malaria Initiative

BENIN AGAINST MALARIA
The Benin Against Malaria (BAM) committee was established in 2013 and falls under the scope of Peace Corps/Benin Rural Community Health’s framework. BAM aims to provide support to P.C. Volunteers to help them better serve their communities and to implement countrywide initiatives to reduce the burden of malaria that is experienced by the people of Benin. The present BAM Committee consists of 10 volunteers and is lead by a third-year volunteer. Malaria prevention is considered cross-sectoral and all volunteers can participate in disease prevention and the delivery of projects throughout their communities.

Partnerships
The malaria program receives technical and financial assistance from the President’s Malaria Initiative, and works with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to ensure all activities meet national criteria and policy. BAM is also supported by the Stomp Out Malaria in Africa initiative, who provides critical support and feedback on project planning and implementation. Volunteers and P.C. Staff attend Stomp conferences and trainings, where participants from 14 countries focus on malaria related interventions and implement those practices in their countries and communities of service.

Areas of Interventions
Benin Against Malaria supports volunteers and the Beninese in adopting evidence-based practices to reduce the burden of malaria. Community members are mobilized through trainings, workshops and activities allowing for improved access to malaria prevention tools. Such activities include: supplemental bed net distributions, youth outreach and school campaigns, behavior change and media campaigns, social marketing and personal finance activities, intermittent preventative treatment during pregnancy and infancy, assistance to health center professionals related to diagnosis and proper treatment adherence, and the promotion of early and active detection of malaria.