Advancing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Benin

In Benin, IRI has been instrumental in strengthening civil society and promoting collaboration between CSOs and government institutions. 

One important goal of IRI’s work in Benin is empowering CSOs to advocate for citizen priorities, including for marginalized groups like PWDs, who have historically been excluded and marginalized from political processes. Despite Benin’s National Assembly passing a landmark law in 2017 to protect and promote the rights of PWDs, the law’s implementation has lagged due to missing regulatory measures from the executive branch. Recognizing this gap IRI partnered with the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Elections and Peace (COSCEP) to strengthen advocacy for the law’s operationalization. IRI organized six consultations with PWD-focused organizations across Benin to develop an advocacy strategy.

Through IRI’s support, COSCEP launched a comprehensive advocacy campaign engaging key institutions like the National Electoral Commission and the Constitutional Court. The coalition also presented the Advocacy Document to the National Assembly, where many parliamentarians acknowledged they lacked awareness of the regulatory measures that would activate the 2017 law. In addition, with IRI’s support, COSCEP engaged political parties and civil society and began social media and radio campaigns to bring more pressure for action. On June 22, 2023, the Council of Ministers announced regulatory measures to operationalize the law. The coalition credited IRI’s support for the effectiveness of the advocacy campaign and persistent engagement with authorities, which improved the coalition’s capacity for advocacy, contributed to the landmark policy change, and raised general awareness of the challenges faced by PWDs in Benin.

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