What’s New


Join us Sept. 25th in NYC: Benefit Dinner and Performance with Angélique Kidjo!

2nd August 2018

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Happy World Youth Skills Day!

15th July 2018

Angelique watches as Girls Club members make soap.

On World Youth Skills Day, we celebrate the power of transferable skills to improve the lives of countless youth all over the world. Not only does an increase in skills training for youth lead to greater personal success, but it can also lead to a stronger and healthier global economy.

Currently, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, and are exposed to labor market inequalities, unsafe work conditions, and insecure transitions from school to work. These problems are much more severe for girls and young women.

In sub-Saharan Africa, there is a demographic bulge where the current youth population is much larger and is growing faster than any previous generation. This has created the phenomenon of the “the demographic dividend,” which is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a change in the age structure of the population. It is crucial to consider the economic potential of the growing youth population in Africa, especially by the time this demographic bulge becomes the working-age adult population.

In 2017, the youth unemployment rate in Benin was approximately 5.19%, a number that has stayed fairly constant since 2011. Though this is much lower than the global youth unemployment rate (13.1%), progress must be made in order to break the stagnant trend of youth unemployment in Benin.

The reach of reforms in the education system of Benin have failed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized youth. In addition, critical life and employability skills have not been integrated into Benin’s formal education system. For girls who have not been able to stay in the formal school system, acquiring the skills they need to become more economically and socially independent is imperative in order to thrive in Benin’s economy.

At Batonga, we foster this independence through our Girls Clubs. Each Girls Club manages its own small business- such as making soaps, selling cakes and candies, or even harnessing solar energy to create sustainable phone-charging stations in their communities! We believe that entrepreneurship is at the heart of what World Youth Skills Day stands for, and we are committed to promoting a more equitable economy in Benin where women and girls have the ability to create change.

From all of us at Batonga, Happy World Youth Skills Day! If you would like to help us create a generation of skilled youth in Benin, please donate here: https://batongafoundation.org/get-involved/

Girls Clubs make and sell cakes as a part of their small business.

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Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

9th February 2018

Although the worldwide gender gap in education has begun to close, there are still significant disparities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. In the United States, women make up only 

35% of undergraduate students in STEM fields, in Benin, however, where only 1 in 4 girls complete primary school, the STEM gap is even more pronounced. For girls who make it past primary school, obstacles such as familial obligations, sexual assault, unplanned pregnancy, menstruation, and child marriage can make staying in and excelling in school even more challenging.

But at Batonga, we see the incredible value in including women and girls in STEM fields, regardless of the obstacles that they have faced in their education. That’s why Batonga is embarking on a new solar technology pilot program to integrate renewable energy solutions and cutting-edge technology into our Girls Clubs. In doing so, we hope to provide our Girls Club members with the skills and knowledge they need to understand, operate, and run small businesses using solar technology.

As a part of this program, Batonga sent four of our mentors and three of our staff members to a week-long training seminar in Sierra Leone to learn more about solar technology and how to successfully integrate it into Girls Clubs.

Batonga is thrilled to be not only exploring new renewable energy solutions but also increasing the numbers of girls interested and working in STEM.

We wish you a Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science! If you’d like to help Batonga bridge gaps in STEM education and head towards a brighter future, please donate here: https://batongafoundation.org/get-involved/

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