Contributed by: David Akodekou (University of Abomey-Calavi)
Benin is a country with a diverse landscape offering a viable climate and environment for the citizens and the animals that live there. Through projects and citizen action led by the Ministry of the Living Environment and Sustainable Development, organizations, associations, universities and schools, Benin participates in environmental protection
Policy & Practice
The first formal initiative for environmental education was a proposal for an environmental education program for primary school by the Ministry in Charge of the Environment, Habitat and Urbanism (MEHU) and Beninese Agency for the Environment. A curricula geared at implementation throughout the six years of primary school was created, however, it did not last long in most pilot schools and the initiative soon faded out. While biology, physics, and history-geography courses continue to touch on environmental studies, they do not have any in-depth focus on environmental issues.
EE in K-12 Education
In Benin, classes on the environment are taught at all school levels. In primary school, students receive lessons on environmental protection in Morals, Geography, and French. In secondary school, environmental classes are taught in subjects such as Life and Earth Sciences, Geography, and French. In addition, Benin has technical schools with departments that train specifically for the environment. All of these help equip citizens to help protect the environment.
The majority of environmental educators are graduates of environmental programs at Beninese universities and schools. By creating or joining groups, associations, and/or organizations, educators can join initiatives, partnerships, and capacity-building to further their impact.
Consultant to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Benin Environment & Education Society (BEES) also works for the protection and sustainable management of natural resources, particularly wetlands, through local initiatives and community participation. Environmental education is one of its five priorities.
EE in National Government
The National Fund for Environment and Climate (FNEC), under supervision of the Ministry of the Living Environment and Sustainable Development, provides financial support to organizations and associations with environmental impact projects.
National EE Campaigns and Funding
In addition to the FNEC, international institutions such as the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) support environmental education projects. Funding for research in the environmental field can come from the West African Monetary and Economic Union (UEMOA), MasterCard Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Intra-Africa Mobility scholarship, to name a few.
There are many NGOs that also sustain this work. Committed to promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity through education and awareness, Nature Tropicale NGO has been a member of the IUCN since 2004, and is a founding member of the Network of Green Actors of West Africa (GAWA), a regional network of environmental organizations in West Africa. Furthermore, Eco Ecolo is an environmental organization in Benin that works on a range of issues including environmental management, biodiversity, and environmental education.