Amidst a growing need for more safe spaces, founders and coordinators of Shelter City in Tanzania, Africa Human Rights Network, created a second Shelter City in 2019 in the West African port city of Cotonou in Benin. Shelter City Benin provides support and a safe and inspiring space to French-speaking human rights defenders from West Africa in order to reinforce their local actions for change.

Our support

Rest and re-energize

During their stay, human rights defenders are able to rest in the comfort of a safe environment – and a safe house – away from the harm and threats that come with their work. This enables them to focus on their well-being and care for their physical and physiological health before they return home to continue their work.

Tailored support and capacity-building

Shelter City Benin is focused on strengthening the capacity of human rights defenders by providing them with the tools and practices needed to enhance their activism. This is done through trainings that aim to contribute to a safer, more strategic fight for human rights, such as physical training, digital security training, and language classes.

Engage with local allies

Regional networking and exchange is a core component of Shelter City Benin. During their stay, human rights defenders are provided with the opportunity to connect with other defenders and organisations in surrounding areas and to share their stories and experiences. This enables defenders to raise awareness about the human rights situation in their country, connect with a wider audience, and reinforce support for their cause.

Our team

Olivier Muhizi
Olivier Muhizi

Program Coordinator

Scholastica B. Pembe
Scholastica B. Pembe

Assistant coordinator and case manager

Marcel Kotou
Marcel Kotou

Mentor and logistics manager

Our stories

Zabib, balancing motherhood and activism in South Sudan
"Being an activist shouldn’t stop women from having children, and having children shouldn’t stop women from their activist work. Let’s not give up."
Shelter City Rotterdam
Meet Caroline Rucah, Kenyan LGBTIQ+ rights defender
Watch a short documentary and learn more about Caroline Rucah, LGBTIQ+ rights defenders from Kenya.
Shelter City Utrecht
Louisa and Asha: defending human rights in Nigeria and India during the COVID-19 pandemic
Louisa and Asha are two human rights defenders and former Shelter City guests who shared with us how their work has changed during the pandemic.
Shelter City Rotterdam
Francis: defending human rights in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic
Kenyan human rights defender Francis shared with us the consequences of the pandemic on his work and how he keeps fighting.
Shelter City Groningen
Dinah: defending human rights in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic
Kenyan human rights defender Dinah shared with us the human rights situation in Kenya during the pandemic and how she continues doing her work.
Shelter City Nijmegen

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