14th November 2013
• Fewer than 27% of girls in Benin make it to middle school (The World Bank).
• Of the girls that do enroll, only 68% make it to graduation (EPDC).
• Fewer than 2% make it to vocation training or University (The World Bank).
Investment in Secondary Education:
Since 2007, Batonga has worked in partnership with two local NGOs, GAJES and ACDD, as well as World Education to provide holistic support for extremely vulnerable girls in secondary schools across Benin. These girls have been orphaned by AIDS, are disabled, extremely poor, or otherwise disadvantaged, yet they are driven to succeed despite their circumstances. The vast majority of these girls would not be in school without Batonga’s support, which includes critical school fees and supplies.
Mentoring and Tutoring:
Batonga supports scholars in Benin with more than just school fees, supplies, uniforms, and shoes. We also provide mentoring activities that are designed to foster self-esteem among the girls and provide them with valuable life skills and information on HIV/AIDS prevention. Remedial classes are also an important part of our work as they allow scholars to catch-up in the subjects they are struggling with and take advantage of one-on-one attention from qualified teachers and mentors.
Batonga provides sanitary pads because we know that when girls reach adolescence, menstruation can become a major barrier to attendance and enrollment. According to UNICEF, approximately 1 in 10 girls will either miss classes or completely drop out of school once they reach adolescents due to lack of bathroom facilities or sanitary pads.
Bicycles have been given to students as a way to help ease the burden of travel distance and as an incentive to perform well in school.
Support for Girls’ Families:
In-kind support for parents helps offset the opportunity cost of sending a child to school. Each Batonga parent or guardian is awarded 50 kg of rice, which helps ease the burden of not having their children at home to help with daily chores or work.
Providing Access to Clean Water and Bathrooms Facilities at Schools:
Batonga aims to ensure that the lack of clean drinking water and the absence of bathroom facilities are not additional obstacles when it comes to attending school. Studies have shown that girls are more likely to drop-out when they reach adolescence if they do not have access to separate bathroom facilities and are 12% more likely to attend school if water is available within a 15 minute walk rather than an hour long walk. Access to clean water also helps reduce diseases that are caused from poor hygiene or from parasites that are found in dirty water. In partnership with Africare and the African Well Fund, Batonga has installed latrines, water wells, and hand-washing stations at four schools in Benin, reaching 3,621 students.
Since 2007, we have supported:
• 229 girls in 30 secondary schools with educational support and mentoring programs
• 229 guardians/families with in-kind donations to offset the cost of sending the girls to school
• 3,621 students in 4 Schools with access to improved water and sanitation
• 20,000+ students with new shoes for school
Angelique watches as Girls Club members make soap.
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