Batonga supports scholars with more than just school fees, supplies, and uniforms. Our programs also encourage financial empowerment, improved health and hygiene, and leadership.
We 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 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 is also working to provide sanitary pads because we know that when girls reach adolescence, menstruation can become a major barrier to attendance and enrollment. Bicycles are given to some scholars as a way to help ease the burden of travel distance and as an incentive to perform well in school. In-kind support for parents helps offset the opportunity cost of sending a child to school. In Benin, 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.
Batonga also aims to ensure that the lack of clean drinking water and the absence of bathroom facilities are not additional obstacles when it comes to girls 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. In partnership with Africare and the African Well Fund, for example, Batonga has installed latrines, water wells, and hand-washing stations at four schools in Benin. Now, 3,621 students have access to clean drinking water and bathrooms at their schools. Help us do more!