Population: 9.4 million (2012)
Official language: French
Major religions: Voodoo or traditional religions
IFES movement: Groupe Biblique des Elèves et Etudiants du Bénin (GBEEB)
Benin has a young population: 47% of the population is under 15 years of age. Around two out of five people live on less than 1 dollar a day.
The religious context is ambiguous in Benin with the resurgence of African traditional religion. Churches are multiplying quickly but there is a great deal of theological and doctrinal confusion. This is an important challenge in student ministry.
- 2 public universities, 7 private universities and 81 private higher education colleges
- GBEEB has groups in the public universities only
- 15 permanent staff: 2 full time and 13 volunteers
- 8 graduates groups
- high school ministry: 92 groups in 700 secondary schools
- largest group at the University of Abomey Calavi (350 students in 20 groups)
- smallest group at the University of Parakou (123 students in 10 groups)
GBEEB students have begun to gradually own the IFES Living Stones vision. They are successfully organising a biennial national conference. High school students are organising mini-camps with the support of volunteer staff. The movement has been delighted to see a small group of graduates contributing financially to support activities.
The movement is trying to integrate student and graduate ministry more, with a view to seeing more graduates serving with student groups as volunteer staff and fundraising coordinators.
View from the inside
Camille Yabi is the General Secretary of the GBEEB. He is inspired by the history of the pioneers of the movement. The ministry was started by students, many of whom went on to become pastors of local churches and state officials. Some of these founders still support the GBEEB. Camille is encouraged to see students today showing greater interest in leading ministry on campuses. He says, ‘I am working to see a multiplication of leaders among students, with a view to finding my eventual successor!’
- for students to take up the challenge of evangelising their fellow students despite the negative effects of their post-modern academic environment;
- that God will keep Beninese students from the lure of a life of material comfort and from the corruption of the prosperity gospel.