Benin elevates women in handball with ‘Sport au Féminin’ project

07 Jun. 2023

Benin elevates women in handball with ‘Sport au Féminin’ project

Handball is one among three sports currently featured in the ‘Sport au Féminin’ (Female Sport Project) underway in Benin — a collaboration between the French embassy in Benin and the national sports federations for handball, athletics and basketball under the umbrella of the Ministry of Sports. 

The project “was created on the premise that the practice of sports is less developed among women than among men, due to historical and sociological constraints. Its aim is to bridge the gap between the sexes,” according to the Benin Handball Federation. The project concentrates on three main pillars: promoting the participation of women in sport as part of Benin’s overall sport development strategy, creating more opportunities for women to practise sport, and promoting sports for girls and women. 

The Benin Handball Federation have focused their component of the Female Sport Project, which began in 2022, on education and increasing the number of events for women and girls. The education component concentrates on coaches, referees, technical delegates and administrators. So far, 12 women from leagues and sports associations have been trained in administration, 26 referees have been part of a continuing training process, 22 technical delegates have participated in training courses for match management, and 38 female coaches from across the country have participated in a preparatory course for the IHF D Licence led by IHF CCM expert Paul Landuré. The top participants of the preparatory D Licence course are set to take part in the actual course in the future. 

The events component of the project has included the organisation of tournaments for each of the three zones, followed by a national tournament. Each of the three-zone tournaments included at least six teams, with a total of 304 girls on court. The top four teams from each zone qualified for the national tournament, which was held in Djougou in December 2022, where Espoir de Parakou defeated ASSEC de Djougou in the final to claim the trophy after five days of competition. The bronze medal went to Synergie de Bohicon. 

The most recent event forming part of the Female Sport Project was an administrative management course in May 2023. It was the second of its kind and featured 15 participants, with topics concentrating on theoretical courses and group work, including the foundation of a sports organisation, tasks of managers in a sports organisation, decision-making, organisation of meetings, conflict management, budgeting and financial management, how to generate income in a sports organisation, planning and human resources management. 

“The women who have taken part in the administrative management training course have different backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: managing the sports movement (handball) as volunteers or elected representatives,” said the Benin Handball Federation. 

Many more activities are coming as part of the Female Sport Project. The D Licence course will be held in June and October 2023; there will be two courses for referees and technical delegates, in July and September; three regional tournaments will be held in July; and the national tournament will take place in September. 

Follow the activities of the Benin Handball Federation on their official website

Photos: Fédération Béninoise de Handball