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Happy Birthday Angelique: A Message from Our Founder

14th July 2017

Angelique Kidjo, Founder of the Batonga Foundation 

Angelique Kidjo with the Batonga Girls in Benin

Every year, as my birthday approaches, my friends and loved ones start talking about giving and receiving gifts. And every year it makes me think about all the many gifts I have been blessed with in my life.

And believe me when I say, I have been blessed many times in my life, blessed with a loving family and with good health. But perhaps the most important gift I ever received was access to an education.

My mother and father raised me, my two sisters, and my seven brothers in an open and loving house. It was a home that valued discussion, joy, and music. But most importantly they valued education- mine and my sisters’ just as much as my brothers’. My father, who was raised himself by a strong woman, believed all girls deserved an education, at a time and place when few girls my age ever made it to secondary school. My family gave me the gifts of opportunity, support, love, and motivation.

They gave me the gift of education.

And so, all throughout my youth, I worked hard to stay in school to keep and sustain the opportunity I was given. I knew my education would be crucial to fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a singer.

I have always known my parents were wonderful and unique in many ways. The education I received as a child is not a gift that every family can or will give to their own daughters. Because I have been very lucky and very blessed, it became my new dream to one day give this same gift to as many African girls as possible- girls who know their dreams hang on their ability to complete their formal schooling or to gain the skills necessary to start their own business.

I founded the Batonga Foundation a decade ago with Mary Louise Cohen and John Phillips to give this chance to other girls. We wanted to found an organization that could give Africa’s most marginalized, most vulnerable girls the same support, love, and motivation that my family gave to me.

I am grateful for the support that has been given by donors, volunteers, board members, family and friends to the Batonga Foundation over the years. Without such generosity, we could never have made this dream a reality. Through our work together, we have given girls in five countries gifts greater than any other: they have received an education and a sense of independence they may never have had otherwise.

We are changing their lives.

This year on my birthday, I hope you will join me in thinking more about the beautiful and sustainable gift that access to education is. And if you truly want to make me happy today on my birthday, give to the Batonga Foundation! Because the greatest gift you can give, or receive, is an education.

More info

Batonga is looking for a Program and Outreach Associate in Washington, D.C.

11th April 2017


The Program and Outreach Associate supports the Executive Director in the development of Batonga’s overall strategy, the integration and implementation of programs at country level as well as provides technical assistance. In practice this means participating in, and managing specific work streams within global and country strategies, playing a key role in developing and maintaining partnerships, drafting and revising proposals and reports, reviewing budgets and expense reports, and managing Batonga’s day-to-day tasks and communication.


Key Responsibilities

Support Batonga’s strategy and its implementation in country (manage expense reports, assist with budgets, data analysis, strategic planning and monitoring and evaluation).

Keep up to date with trends and developments on girls’ rights and gender equality by participating in relevant sector events/meetings, support public relations efforts and serve as an enthusiastic ambassador and spokesperson, and where Batonga convenes events, support with preparation of key learning and evidence to showcase.

Manage NGO records, contacts and essential documentation, compose annual reports and manage circulation, assist with meeting preparation, mailings and travel logistics.

Head-up donor relations and development (research individuals, foundations and companies that will give major gifts and develop/manage outreach timeline, draft grant proposals, manage fundraising events in Washington, DC and New York City).

Coordinate efforts with Angelique’s management team


Skills and Experience

Minimum Bachelors Degree or equivalent in International Development or a relevant subject

Experience working on girls’ rights or women’s rights programming and gender equality a plus

Excellent communication and organizational skills

MS Office Suite and social media savvy

French language a plus

A collaborative team player

High attention to detail and ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines

Adaptable – able to work in complex, unfamiliar and changing environments

Self-starter – confident and proactive in generating and leading new initiatives

Positive, energetic, can-do attitude


How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume to jobs@batongafoundation.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

More info

Batonga Founder, Angelique Kidjo, wins third Grammy Award for Best World Music Album

16th February 2016

Angelique-Kidjo-wins-third-career-grammy-2016Congratulations to Batonga’s founder, Angélique Kidjo, on winning her third Grammy Award! We couldn’t be more proud.

Angelique’s accomplishments and her role as a philanthropist and advocate for girls’ education continue to inspire youth around the world to pursue an education and follow their dreams!

““Africa is on the rise. Africa is positive. Africa is joyful.” These were the words of Beninese songstress Angelique Kidjo as she collected the prize for the Best World Music Album at the Grammy Awards on Monday.

The award was the third Grammy Kidjo has collected in her career, and her second consecutive one in the World Music category. She has been described as “the undisputed queen of African music” and “Africa’s greatest living diva,” and was featured on the cover of Forbes Afrique top 100 most influential women issue in May 2015.”

Source: Newsweek Read the full article here!

More info



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