"This project has enabled our NPC to perform an activity that has been in its action plan for three years without funding. It is now possible to develop the practice of Paralympic sports in three of the six regions of Benin."
The Benin National Paralympic Committee (NPC), with funding from the Agitos Foundation’s Grant Support Programme, has organised a total of three Paralympic days in different regions to develop para-sport in the country.
The project, called ‘Extension of the Paralympic Movement in Benin’ aims to raise awareness amongst potential athletes and as a result inform and influence the public and local government to support future activities.
A total of two of the three days were already held in September and proved to be a great success.
In the Zou-Coullines region in the city of Ouidah, the Mayor officially launched the Paralympic Day with the President of the Benin NPC, Leopold Gbenou.
In the neighbouring city of Abomey organisers received a visit from Dah Semiliko Alomangba, a Prince and respected former Minister of the Republic.
The third and final Paralympic Day will take place in the Atacora-Donga region around the city of Natitingou on 25 October.
All of events feature a conference debate on the Paralympic Movement in Benin supported by evidence from the Benin International Games and the 2013 National Championships.
There are also demonstration events in powerlifting, wheelchair basketball and athletics and a large concert led by artists with impairments, punctuated by the stories of athletes.
Groups have been established in all regions to monitor awareness of para-sport in Benin as a result of the activities which made it onto the front-page of local newspapers.
Georges Seriki, Secretary General of Benin NPC said "This project has enabled our NPC to perform an activity that has been in its action plan for three years without funding. It is now possible to develop the practice of Paralympic sports in three of the six regions of Benin.
“Moreover it allows Benin NPC to expand its supervisory structures in the regions visited. Hopefully next year we will have the funding to cover the remaining three regions.
“Thanks to the Agitos Foundation, thanks to the IPC!”
The Agitos Foundation is the development arm of the IPC. In 2014 around 650,000 EUR was given to projects around the world to develop para-sport through the Grant Support Programme.