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The Couffo Collaborative

About the Collaborative


Benin, West Africa


  • The Republic of Benin is home to almost 11.2 million people.

  • Along with French, there are over 50 languages spoken.

  • Benin ranks 163th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. 

  • 49.6% of the total population lives on less than $1.90 per day. 

  • 73.5% of working adults (18 yrs. and older) live on less than $3.10 per day. 

  • The average adult in Benin has received about 3.6 years of schooling. 

  • 43.2% of the workforce works in agriculture, 38.3% works in service industries.

The Couffo Collaborative

Benin, West Africa

The Republic of Benin gained independence from France on August 1, 1960. While early years of independence were marked by multiple coups, changes in governments, and a military Marxist regime, a constitution was formed in 1990 and democratic, multi-candidate elections took place in 1991. The Beninese people are proud that Benin has become one of the most stable democracies on the continent of Africa, with six national elections and peaceful transfers of power between 4 different administrations. But while politically stable, Benin continues to be a very poor nation. With few commodities for export, most Beninese survive on subsistence agriculture or working in service industries.


The Couffo Region (Département de Couffo) where we work is in the southwest part of the country on the Benin/Togo border. The Aja people are the primary ethnic group in the Couffo Region and number almost three-quarter of a million people.

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