Benin is located on the West African coast, bordering Nigeria and Niger in the East, Togo in the West and Burkina Faso in the North. It has a total population of approximately 9 million, of which 51.5 percent are women and 17.4 percent are children under 5. 

Agriculture is the economy's key sector, but structural problems—a lack of modern farming technologies, poor soil condition, and weak post-harvest infrastructure (storage, preservation, processing, etc.)—persist, which has negatively affected food security, nutrition and trade conditions.  In addition, floods, droughts, global financial conditions and elevated commodity prices have exacerbated an already-fragile nutritional situation in the some of the most vulnerable regions of the country. A survey conducted at the national level by the Benin Government (EMICOV: Enquête Modulaire Intégrée sur les Condition de Vie des Ménages) in 2011 showed that 33.6 percent of households are food insecure. Additionally, results from the 2012 Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) showed that acute malnutrition affects 16 percent of children under 5 and chronic malnutrition affects 44.6 percent of children under 5 in the country. 

Despite the efforts of the Government of Benin to ensure universal education by 2015, the National net enrolment rate remains 90.28 percent (92.82 percent for boys and 87.53 percent for girls). Several rural districts still have net enrolment rates below 50 percent (Annual Statistics 2009-2010, Ministry of Education, Benin). Benin is ranked 167 out of 187 on the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI).