The Belgian Development Cooperation invests in a project “Forum Enoumama” to promote the rights of women and girls in the frame of the She Decides movement.
75% of women in Benin are affected by physical and verbal violence, and maternal and newborn mortality rates remain high, in particular due to the weak decision-making power of women in terms of controlling births. With the aim of improving this situation, Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC) has supported the implementation of the Enoumama forum. This forum brings together representatives from civil society who have been trained by BTC Benin on the various questions relating to gender.
Enoumama has led to notable results in terms of accessing decision-making bodies for women, protecting rights and combating violence against women, as well as regarding the health of mothers and children. For example, it can be seen that the participation of women in community meetings has gone from 15% to 60%, 23 women are presidents of community associations, one woman is deputy to the mayor, and two others are village heads. Another important result obtained is the introduction of a mutual fund for women to cover healthcare expenses during pregnancy and childbirth. All the pregnant women in this mutual fund have undergone prenatal consultations and have given birth in the health centre.
"Before, if my wife or my children became ill, I didn't worry too much about it. I asked my wife to look for some herbal teas to cure the illness. But one day, I attended an awareness-raising session by the members of Enoumama on the health of mothers and children, and that changed the way I looked at things. That's why, today, the good health of my wife and children is also my own good health, and I am proud to take on this responsibility. Since we do not earn much to take care of our children, we solicited the services of a midwife, and incorporated a family planning method" explains an inhabitant from Agatogbo, in the municipality of Comè.