When the year started in 2020, the team and I were excited to implement some new ideas and programs. Little did we know we would have to rapidly adapt and evolve our model to support girls and young women through a global pandemic that would affect all of us, from Benin to the United States.
In 2020, the Batonga team showed what it meant to be adaptive, resilient, and creative in the light of disruption. Over twelve months, we:
- paused our in-person leadership clubs and launched a new radio program to replace them;
- equipped local women with all they needed to be leaders when it came to prevention and awareness-raising around COVID-19 (including prevention posters, hand-washing stations, and the very first masks in those communities);
- launched our community projects to give girls the power to decide how to use resources to support their communities throughout the pandemic;
- helped women-led businesses, launched with Batonga’s support, to mass produce soap and sell it to new markets beyond their immediate communities increased our home visits to make sure no girl was left behind (following safe health guidelines for all involved)
- launched our Young Women Business Circles to boost economic activity and mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic on women-led businesses
This annual report is about sharing the work accomplished, but it is also proof that our organization is ready to scale and do even more. This year showed us just how strong our programmatic model is, and how deep our impact goes. We are ready for what comes next!
– Emily Bove, Executive Director