CLD Benin: A Civil Society Network for Sustainable Development

“I strongly believe that the transformation of a system fundamentally requires a transformation of the heart that sustains the status quo.

Once the heart resonates in harmony with the transformation we are envisioning, transformation becomes a reality.

A growth mindset that encapsulates solidarity, leadership , ownership and partnership on an equity basis, along with the policies, strategies, and processes that support localized actions, all fueling into broader amplified collective actions through networking are the heart that makes social transformation happen in communities.
Systems change refers then to the heart of individuals, collectives and systems. Start with the heart of the system, from the heart of the individual”.

Pascal Djohossou, MCLD West Africa Coordinator

CLD-Benin stands as a beacon of community-led development (CLD) in West Africa. Launched in 2017 as a chapter of the Movement for Community-led Development, the network has rapidly gained momentum, driven by a commitment to inclusivity, self-governance, and collaboration. Now a registered civil society organization, CLD-Benin includes over 1,000 civil society organizations across Benin and embodies the spirit of grassroots empowerment, championing the voices of its diverse members.

At its core, CLD Benin operates on principles of co-creation, ensuring that priorities, governance structures, and strategies are shaped through collaborative efforts that draw from the rich experience and knowledge of its membership. This inclusive approach has garnered recognition and partnerships from key stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, the National Association of Local Governments (ANCB), and the Benin Nutrition Society (SNB), among others.

CLD Benin’s impact extends beyond national borders, serving as a model for CLD initiatives globally. Through its vibrant network, CLD Benin facilitates knowledge exchange, dialogue, and capacity strengthening, fostering a culture of learning and leadership within the CLD community.

The organization works to support systemic social transformation through the facilitation or the implementation of the overall frame of the SDGs in two ways. First, through the support of National Association members in facilitating the process that enhances leadership and ownership mindsets at the community level. Second, through specific thematic priorities, each reflecting the aspirations and needs of the communities. These are: 

  • Agriculture Nutrition: transforming food systems 
  • Promoting responsive local governance
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Environment and climate change
  • Local economic development

CLD Benin engages with these five areas through widespread advocacy campaigns, events, and strong partnerships. The network’s innovative approaches including reclaiming traditional “superfoods,” fostering climate-friendly agricultural practices, and promoting entrepreneurship, particularly among women and youth, underscore CLD Benin’s commitment to building resilient communities.

CLD Benin’s dedication to community-led and sustainable development is a testament to the importance of collective action. By acting through the strengths of its diverse membership and building meaningful partnerships with like-minded local organizations and networks CLD Benin is paving the way for true community-led development to be a reality in Benin.