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Children being served food in Benin


Mary’s Meals feeds more than 3,500 children every school day in Benin.

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Where we work

Life in Benin

Benin is currently ranked 166 out of 191 countries and territories in the Human Development Index (HDI).

Food insecurity, low-incomes, malnutrition and gender inequality are just some of the key challenges facing impoverished people in Benin.  Almost 20% of the population is currently living below the International Poverty Line ($2.15 per day).  An estimated 60,178 primary school age children remain out of school in Benin. Almost two thirds of the population is unable to read and write.

The official language in Benin is French, but a diverse range of more than 50 indigenous languages are spoken. Most of the population lives on the southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea. Benin is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the north-west, and Niger to the north-east.

small boy smiling at the camera whilst balancing a large metallic bowl on his head

Mary’s Meals in Benin

Mary's Meals has been serving school meals in Benin since 2011, working closely with the Sœurs de Marie de la Médaille Miraculeuse. We provide nutritious meals to children living in severely impoverished communities in five schools across the country. All five schools are in communities that are affected by food insecurity and hunger. One of the schools is in Hondji, located to the northwest of the capital city of Porto-Novo, and supports vulnerable children, many of whom are critically ill or have been abandoned.

The other schools are in Biro, in the northeast of Benin; Adido, near Savéin central Benin; and in Hozin and Akpadanou, which are areas in the south of the country. Our partner reports that many children attending these schools receive little food at home.

Food changes the story

Help us reach the next hungry child

When did we start working in Benin?

Mary’s Meals has been serving school meals in Benin since 2011

How many children do we feed in Benin?

Mary’s Meals feeds more than 3,500 children every school day in Benin.

What meal is provided?

The typical school meal we serve is maize or rice with beans, vegetables, meat, fish or eggs

Where are we based/where do we operate?

Our programme operates in Hondji (south Benin), Biro (northeast Benin), Adido (central Benin), and Hozin and Akpadanou (south Benin).

What is the capital of Benin?

The capital city of Benin is Porto Novo

What language(s) are spoken in Benin?

The official language of Benin is French. The most widely spoken indigenous language in Benin is Fon

What currency is used in Benin?

West African CFA franc (XOF)

What is the population of Benin?

The population of Benin is 12,726,528