U.S. Exchange Alumni Prepare 770 Women to Rise Within Benin’s Political Parties

On February 4, 2021, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Karen Gustafson de Andrade presided over the launch of the “Women’s Political Empowerment” project at INFOSEC in Cotonou.  

 Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) project will be executed by the U.S.-Benin Women Alumnae Association (US-BWAA), the non-partisan $25,000 program will develop the capacity of 770 women leaders – ten from each of Benin’s 77 communes – to take on leadership roles within Benin’s many political parties and movements.  

The Women’s Political Empowerment initiative builds on existing efforts by local and international partners to bolster women’s participation in all sectors, and seeks to motivate participants to become more involved in politics as candidates, voters, and civic activists. 

 Over the course of the one-year program, beneficiaries will learn strategies for successful political engagement, sharpen their communication skills, and increase their capacity to organize peaceful political activity. They will also gain the opportunity to network with and learn from their peers and other prominent women leaders throughout Benin. 

Addressing the audience of young leaders, Gustafson de Andrade said, “Aujourd’hui, c’est une idéale occasion d’accueillir certaines des femmes les plus remarquables du Bénin pour continuer la marche vers l’égalité.  Je n’ai aucun doute que parmi vous –participantes de Women Political Empowerment – sont des futures vice-présidentes, présidentes, membres de cabinet, et d’autres hautes personalités de votre pays … Courage à vous pour votre succès et pour un avenir dans lequel les femmes pourront faire la politique – peu importe le parti – en toute égalité.”