Information by Country

Benin: Background

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.

Benin has one of the rare democratic systems seen in Africa and has achieved relative economic stability. However, it is also a country where infant and maternal mortality and women’s illiteracy are high. Poverty, illiteracy and illnesses are some of the factors hindering progress toward the achievement of child rights.

The Girls’ Education Acceleration strategy was launched in October, 2005 with the Essential Learning Package (ELP) integrated as a strategy for acceleration. 
Barriers to Girls’ Education

  • Poverty and the traditional division of domestic labour means that girls are often required to stay at home to work;
  • A general belief by parents that education for girls is irrelevant for their realities;
  • Lack of educational support in terms of infrastructure, equipment, teachers, handbooks, etc;
  • High costs of education; 
  • Lack of quality in education which reduces retention of students;

UNGEI in Action

UNGEI’s partnership in Benin is known as ‘Paquet Educatif Essentiel pour l’Accélération de la Scolarisation des Filles’ (Essential Educational Package for the Acceleration of Girls’ Education). 

Key Initiatives

  • Mobilize the Government and the development of partners to improve the availability of education, in both quantity and quality;
  • Strengthen communication to change the behavior of the parents and the way they view education;
  • Improve the economic means of parents to allow them to pay for the direct and indirect costs of school.


At the governmental level, there are close partnerships notably with the Ministries of National Education, Health, Finance, Sports and Culture. Key UN partners include: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Bank, and Programme Alimentaire Mondial (PAM). Bi-lateral partnerships include: United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Partnerships with national Non-Governmental Organizations include: Plan Bénin, Action Aid, BorneFonden, and Catholic Relief Services.

UNGEI within other National and International Frameworks

UNGEI’s work is completely integrated within the development frameworks, which recognize the education of girls as a priority. The Essential Learning Package for the acceleration of girls’ education is one of the strategies retained in the Sector Wide Approaches (SWAPs). The coordination framework of the Technical and Financial Partners and the committee monitoring the set-up of the Essential Learning Package are working in close collaboration.



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