Activity Report:  Benin

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Literacy for youths and adults

Period:  Jan.  2005 -     Area:  Gbeto  Education

A graduate of the literacy class now a teacher.

A graduate of the literacy class who never went to primary school was employed as a new teacher
A graduate of the literacy class who never went to primary school was employed as a new teacher

01 Ocotber 2004

HFW has been running the literacy project since 2004. In 2007, we added three additional classes to the original three, and total student numbers having grown from 70 to 280. In view of local residents' growing interest in literacy education, HFW developed its own "Literacy Education Instruction Manual" to replace the instruction guidelines recommended by the government of Benin, which we had been using until 2008. This has allowed us to provide education that is better suited to the circumstances of rural areas. The new manual enables teachers to relate the letters of the Fon language taught that day to content relevant to their everyday lives. For example, each alphabet letter can be memorized by association with particular vocabulary words such as "cleaning" or "hand washing," simultaneously allowing students to learn about healthy lifestyle habits.

In late-2008, training sessions were held for instructors to incorporate this new manual into the program. Two experienced instructors and eight of the best students who have shown particular interest in becoming an instructor also participated. An exam followed the training sessions. Of the eight students, four were chosen to become literacy class instructors. In fact, prior to attending HFW's literacy classes, one of the new instructors had never attended a single day of elementary school, nor had this instructor ever held a pen.

After gaining teaching responsibilities, some of the new teachers had difficulty keeping up with preparations for class. Also, since they are teaching in the village they grew up in, instructors are teaching many acquaintances. Some of the instructors find it uncomfortable to act as their acquaintances' teacher. Instructors feel that some students are resistant to the idea that their acquaintance is now acting as a teacher. However, these teachers were themselves students in the classes and learned to read, and this experience is invaluable. Having added these new instructors who have a desire to share their experience with others and realize acutely the key importance of literacy to local development, the semester ended on a good note in July 2009.

Writing practice using small slates
Writing practice using small slates

A note showing the association between a new alphabet letter and the word
A note showing the association between a new alphabet letter and the word "book"

Message from Benin

Ms. Ester Kemajon

Learning to read and write was a very valuable experience for me. I decided to become an instructor so I could help others have this experience as well. Initially there were some male students who weren't keen on being taught by a female, but slowly I gained their acceptance and was able to finish the term without a single failing student. I hope to further improve the curriculum during the next term.

Ms. Ester Kemajon (a new literacy class instructor)

List of projects:  Benin (2012,2013)

example of icons:Nutrition, Education, Health and Sanitation, Economic Empowerment, Gender Equality, Environment

Benin Staff

Benin Office Staff

Five staff members support the HFW activities. They get much help from local residents and specialists.


Benin Office

B.P.01-5000 Cotonou, Benin
TEL: +229-33-5517
FAX: +229-33-1427