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BENIN: Improving Public School Education

Duration: 1 year
Year: 2012
Cost: $16,500

Local Partner: Envol Afrique

Benin in map of Africa

The public school system in Benin has been in a state of disarray for several years. This has led to a plethora of private schools, managed as businesses and accessible only through unreasonably high tuition fees. Children from disadvantaged families are suffering from a lack of access to quality education.

Italian-born Don Romain Atekou, a priest now living in Benin, founded the local non-profit Envol Afrique in Parakou City. The organization offers after-school programs to the youth residing at the periphery of the city, as a way to: 1) improve their academic achievement; 2) keep them away from crime; and 3) avoid their exploitation as agricultural laborers. In the programs, boyes and girls are divided into classes according to age and education level (something not always possible in public schools). Each class is assigned a tutor; a university student who gets the chance to earn a little money to pay for his/her studies while getting some teaching experience. The facilities hosting the program also offer a space for the young people to study in the evening, as most students don’t have electricity at home.

The project will give 100 youngsters the opportunity to benefit from an after-school program with quality educational materials and more personal, tutorial attention. The program, offered throughout the school year, will be intensified during the vacation months to keep the boys and girls focused and engaged in educational activities. Particular importance will be given to the development of intellectual and social competencies, the exploration of other cultures, the review of school subjects, and the introduction to computer technologies. Recreational activities will be offered regularly as well. By engaging university students as stipended tutors, an additional objective is to attract and prepare good educators for the future of Benin.

100 boys and girls aged 8 to 15.