After Nehivena’s sixth grade teacher sexually abused her at school, he left her badly hurt and alone in the classroom. With difficulty, the 12-year-old made her way home where her mother immediately took her for medical care and contacted the police.
The officer referred Nehivena’s mother to SIN-DO, a Global Fund for Women grantee that stepped in to pay Sabina’s medical expenses and support her family in filing charges against the teacher.
“It is thanks to SIN-DO that Nehivena is still alive,” said Nehivena’s mother.
Support from SIN-DO helped to convict the teacher and enabled Nehivena to resume her studies at a different school.
Teaching the Importance of Education
Sexual harassment in Beninese schools is a significant reason for low enrollment of girl students. SIN-DO’s programs reach the most marginalized adolescent girls through community-based training sessions on sexual harassment, forced marriage, and importance of girls’ education.
“I have two daughters who had never been to school,” said Madame Lissassi Gbegan, whose daughter received her basic education certificate through a SIN-DO program. “SIN-DO provided school materials and visited them in school and at home to motivate them.”
Through their wide range of community programs, this Global Fund grantee, with a staff of just eight, has benefited over 40,000 women and girls in Benin over the last decade. Of these, 8,000 were adolescents – including several hundred adolescent mothers, according to a recent evaluation of SIN-DO by Honorine Honkou and commissioned by the Global Fund, with the support of the Nike Foundation.
Strategies for Change
The case study highlights the role of girl-focused community organizations, including SIN-DO. With the adoption of Benin's new 2006 education policies, SIN-DO is a vital partner as the Beninese government makes efforts to scale access to girls' education. The study further found strategies that engage parents, community leaders and girls directly catalyzed a widespread community movement toward girls’ education. Economic empowerment programs for mothers and training programs for parents to become advocates for their girls in school resulted in a striking increase in school enrollment and graduation rates for girls.
“Because of SIN-DO, we have changed our mentality regarding the education of our children. We recognize the importance of girls’ education,” said Adklommè Village Chief, Barnabè Koido.
Since 1998, Global Fund has awarded $158,000 in funding to SIN-DO. Currently, Global Fund supports nearly 200 community organizations in 78 countries that are working to secure girls’ rights, access to education and well-being.Read the case study as a pdf (1.79 MB) »