HOPE International is pleased to announce that we are launching a new savings group program in Benin!
From the very beginning, through our conversations with potential partners, we knew that expanding to Benin would offer the opportunity to reach more underserved families in the West Africa region.
Lesly Jules, regional director of savings groups at HOPE, emphasizes this, saying:
Benin was chosen because of the potential for growth—expressed both in the size of the churches and enthusiastic church partners.
Our new country director, Yvette Missainhoun, has hit the ground running, and our team is currently in the process of securing our legal registration and building relationships with potential church partners.
While the concept of savings groups is not entirely new in Benin, we see tremendous potential to integrate a robust savings group methodology into local churches.
Lesly says that on a due diligence trip earlier this year, he and other HOPE staff were encouraged by the openness of Christian leaders in Benin:
There is not a single church leader that we encountered during our trip who doesn’t reiterate the idea that HOPE should have been present in West Africa, and particularly in Benin. The Church there wants to do holistic ministries, and they consider the savings program as the piece of the puzzle that was missing.
Improving financial access
For Beninese people living in material poverty, access to capital and savings remains limited. While banking is a major industry in Benin, its customers are concentrated in urban areas. Nationwide, 24% of the population holds an account with a financial institution, meaning that 76% are without access.*
As ministries offered by local churches, savings groups will help fill in this gap, providing vulnerable families with a safe place to save, small loans from their pooled savings, and a community to care for each other’s needs.
Reaching more families with the hope of the Gospel
Out of a total population of 13.7 million, 31.5% of people in Benin identify as Christian and 30.2% identify as Muslim.** We are particularly grateful for opportunities to encourage and build up churches in the northern part of the country, where most Muslims live.
Lesly shares that there is already excitement and anticipation among church members, as they follow Christ’s commandment to live out and proclaim the Good News with their neighbors:
The believers are eager to experience church at a whole new level. They say, If the Early Church could do it, why can’t we?
Pray with us over our next steps
Would you join us in praying for our team as we launch our program in Benin?
- Pray for favor with government administrators as we secure our legal registration.
- Pray for discernment as we interview candidates to join the HOPE Benin team.
- Pray for strong, strategic connections with potential church partners.
- Pray for the men and women who will join savings groups, that they would experience the love of Christ as they use what’s in their hands to provide for their families and communities.