In Benin we are committed to improving education by promoting quality instruction and greater school access for children who have been left behind, especially girls. In 1994, we began the first of our many projects to focus on the importance of parental participation in the public education system.
We have been instrumental in launching the wave of mothers’ associations (AMEs), which have been recognized as a national model for women’s empowerment and participation in school governance. Mothers’ associations play a key role in promoting girls’ education. Today, there are over 630 AMEs in Benin, which have been formally integrated within parent-teacher associations. With training and support from World Education, AMEs have been directly responsible for increasing girls’ enrollment, attendance and retention in primary school.
We have also worked with mothers and parents’ associations to combat child trafficking, improve the legal environment for civic participation in education, maintain and manage primary schools, increase access to education for children with disabilities, set up girls’ mentoring programs, and improve gender equity in schools.
Using community-based approaches, we ensure that children have a network of support for learning both inside and outside the classroom. We focus on early grade reading, partnering with the Ministry of Pre-Primary and Primary Education and the national teacher training institute (INFRE) to train Kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 teachers in evidence-based practices to improve language and reading instruction that complements existing government curricula. We also build the capacity of government partners to administer early grade reading curriculum and assessment.