New Canadian Funding Will Help Improve Health of Women in Benin

With the support of the Government of Canada, CARE is looking forward to embarking on a new project in Benin aimed at improving sexual reproductive health and rights of adolescent girls.

The announcement was made by Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of International Development and La Francophonie, at the Family Planning Summit in London, United Kingdom.

This new initiative builds on the success of a 2.5 year $3M CAD project in Benin and Mali which reached 11, 206 women and 10, 159 men, which focused on social transformation within communities and households to prevent and mitigate the effects of child and early forced marriage. At the level of local government, CARE has supported the development of action plans for the prevention of gender based violence and support to survivors. These action plans are developed through close collaboration between elected officials and religious leaders focusing on keeping girls in school, and celebrating civil (legal) marriages, which by law require adolescent girls to be over 18 years of age, before religious ones.

CARE has partnered with the Youth Coalition in this new 3-year initiative to include comprehensive sexual education and access to sexual and reproductive health services so that empowered adolescent girls can exercise control over their own sexuality. CARE and the Youth Coalition will continue to work preventing early and child forced marriage and supporting survivors of child and early forced marriage through psycho-social support and social inclusion.


Marnie Davidson, senior manager of global health for CARE Canada:

Almost one in five adolescent girls in Benin becomes pregnant before their nineteenth birthday. Gender inequalities and patriarchal values have led to practices such as early and child forced marriage that socially isolate adolescent girls and try to control their sexuality. While educating village members and providing adolescent girls access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services are effective strategies we also need innovation, and innovative programming needs to come from youth for youth.


Kasia Souchen