Benin became a part of the APRM Review Process in 2004. The Hanns-Seidel-Foundation assisted in informing and training the Beninese society on the APRM process. Also, the creation of sub-commissions in all 77 communities and 12 departments was facilitated. Since then, the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation has been conducting capability training of the sub-commissions, in order to enhance their skills regarding APRM processes and act as multiplicators to society. The Foundation is now planning to support dialogues between the Beninese Commission, the 77 sub-commissions, the 12 departments and important representatives of the community. In addition, the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation organizes regional dialogue between the Beninese Commission and the APRM Commissions/ Secretariats/ Governing Councils of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo and Mali. As these West African countries are at different stages of the APRM process, regional exchange allows for an enhancement of spill-over effects.
Since 2000 and together with the Union des Femmes Aboméennes pour la Démocratie et le Développement (UFADD), trainings for women on various socio-political and economic issues have been undertaken. Subject areas covered by the workshops include the taxation system and process as well as financial administration and management. The goal of the project is to better equip these women for an active role in society and for their participation in economic development. The husbands may also take part occasionally, as a response to their wives’ wishes. From 2012 onwards, the project will continue with the trained women acting as trainers themselves. This will allow them to pass on their obtained knowledge to further female citizens in the community, one tool being sketches.
Together with the Centre d’Education Civique, Economique et Sociale pour la Démocratie et la Développement (CECEDD), capacity building workshops for district and community councils are undertaken as a part of this project. The overall goal is to promote good governance on a local level, enhance more efficient work processes and a more active fight against corruption. To obtain this, the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation facilitates dialogue about decentralized administrative structures between local council members. The council members are furthermore trained in their role as facilitators of democracy and as key actors of local development, as well as their supervisory role over the executive of the municipality.
After a visit of respected members of the Ghanaian Supreme Court and the Chief Justice to the Togolese Constitutional Court and its President, a return visit to Ghana was undertaken. These meetings, organized by the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation, were the first step to enhance regional dialogue between national judiciaries. The key topic prioritized was a debate about the resolution of electoral disputes. In reaction, the Chief Justice of Ghana announced the issuance of an official document on the matter, reflecting a wider impact on civil society. Taking this project further, the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation is planning a regional dialogue platform between experts of the judiciaries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo and Ghana, commencing in early 2012. The goal is that after thorough discussions on relevant subject areas, six are prioritized. Each country’s judiciary is then to develop one area further. Meetings are held regularly to exchange information and promote spill-over effects, as the understanding of each other’s judicial laws, regulations and practises is enhanced. This allows for the identification of best practises, while the adaption of such into one’s own system may be stimulated, thus benefiting each participating country’s civil society. The local partners in Benin are the Constitutional Court of Benin and the Association Béninoise de Droit Constitutionnel (ABDC).