CRS History in Benin
Formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey, Benin gained independence from France on August 1, 1960. Nearly two years earlier, Catholic Relief Services had signed its first country agreement to work in Benin. At the request of the Episcopal Conference of Benin, the United States Catholic Bishops provided clothes, medical supplies and food to assist the poor.
Over the course of the following five decades, the needs of the country have changed. CRS has adapted our programming in response to those changing needs.
In 1972, military officers led by Major Mathieu Kerekou took power, proclaiming a Marxist-Leninist state and changing the country's name to Benin. At the end of 1989, Benin renounced Marxist policies and in the following year became a multiparty, constitutional democracy.
For the last 12 years, Benin has worked to implement democratic principles through the decentralization of power. The peaceful election of Dr. Boni Yayi to the presidency in 2006 highlights Benin's position at the vanguard of newly democratized West African states.