Benin: Family mediations on a local level to promote parental responsibility 


Project title: Building up a sustainable and decentralized offer for family mediations to strengthen parental responsibility in the Departments Ouémé and Plateau in Bénin


Project location: Benin, Departments Ouémé and Plateau


Duration: 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2023


Local project partner: Espace Solidarité Globale Bénin (ESGB)

Project context

While working with children on the street, our partner ESGB has found that broken family relationships and a lack of parental responsibility, especially in the event of divorce or separation, are often the cause for these children's plight. Few parents know the law when it comes to child protection or parental responsibility.

In a pilot phase, the approach of family mediation was tested in order to create a protective family environment for children in need. More than 2,000 parents have sought mediation to resolve their conflicts. The project evaluations show that the situation has improved for more than 3,000 children. However, the demand for family mediation appeared to be so high that the project team of ESGB cannot meet it alone. In addition, more and more urgent requests from the Department Plateau, where there is no such offer so far, have been addressed to ESGB.

This project thus supports the sustainable development of a decentralized offer for family mediations in the 14 municipalities of Ouémé and Plateau. 56 key persons who traditionally hold a mediation and advisory role in their communities (traditional and religious leaders, social workers, specialized associations) are trained and accompanied to conduct proper family mediations.

Project aims

Main objective: To promote parental responsibility and a protective family environment that supports the holistic development of children in Benin.


Project objective: The rights and the well-being of about 10,000 children in the Plateau and Ouémé departments, who suffer from conflicts between their parents, are protected. 



  1. In the 14 municipalities of the Departments Ouémé and Plateau, there are permanent mediation points to help families to ensure adequate protection of the child's well-being in the event of conflicts.
  2. In the project municipalities, children's rights as well as the legal parental responsibilities are known.
  3. 2,300 children who are in need due to parental conflicts or separation receive adequate support, which allows them to overcome their traumatic experiences and regain the joy of living.
  4. The local partner is sustainably strengthened for its financial independence, especially for running the child protection center La Passerelle.

Target groups

  • 300 girls who have experienced abuse, neglect or (sexual) violence due to parental conflicts
  • 2,000 children who have lost contact with a parent and find themselves in a desperate situation
  • 10,000 parents in conflict (5,000 pairs) and at least 10,000 children of their children
  • 140 single parents, especially mothers
  • 56 local mediators
  • 56 representatives of religious communities, traditional and religious leaders
  • 168 representatives of the decentralized public services
  • 28 responsibles of local civil society organisations
  • 28 working associations
  • 243 members of local child protection committees
  • 70 elected town quarter representatives and their consultants
  • 10 radio presenters of 5 stations

Important project activities

  • Training local mediators and establishment of mediation/consultation points
  • Accompanying and counseling local mediators in conducting family mediations
  • Exchanging experience between local mediators and with state social services
  • Formalizing partnership agreements with public services
  • Publishing a handbook on children's rights in easy french and in local languages as well as a new edition of the handbook on parental responsibility in 2 local languages
  • Organising awareness-raising events, producing radio broadcasts
  • Establishing and training local child protection committees 
  • Working with local associations to support 140 single parents to start income-generating activities
  • Accompanying and supporting children (girls) in particularly delicate situations in the center of La Passerelle (médical, psychosocial and legal support, school attendence or professional training)
  • reintegrating girls into a stable and protective family environment, including counseling and follow-up
  • Enhancing ESGB's agricultural activities as means of self-sufficiency and professional training farm for older girls
  • Equipping a conference hall and 3 rooms for rent.


Project costs:  610,500 Euros


Financial partners:

  • German Cooperation (BMZ)
  • Sternstunden e. V.
  • ESGB and Kinderrechte Afrika e. V. (Donations)
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(Subject Benin Family Mediations)

Cover picture: Children in Benin on their way to school. School (re-)integration for children in need is one of the aims of the family mediation offers that are built up by the project. Children have a right to education. © ESGB


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