Project information

Sonagnon Girls' Training Centre

The aim is to educate girls (who get little education in West Africa), mainly to prevent them migrating to neighborouing Nigeria, where they often fall into quasi-slavery as domestic servants, or into prostituion. They acquire basic French and maths, and the essentials of a trade.


Charity information: The Friends of Bonou

The Friends of Bonou
  • Need


    The low status of women generally in this particular society, but more specifically to save girls from falling into prostitution or domestic slavery.


    By giving them status in society, and by giving them the wherewithal to earn their own living from dress-making, hair-dressing and food-processing; and also by retaining them near their homes in Benin, and thus away from nearby Nigeria where they can fall prey to pimps and slavery.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To pay for the running of the Centre, and to invest in its development.


    » We run fund-raising events here in Oxfordshire, and sell African jewellery to raise money; and liaise directly and frequently with partners in Benin.

    What success will look like

    Success will be when the school has been fully adopted by the local community, and is self-sustaining financially (through local NGO funding with contributions from families).

  • Impact


    We have a system for following up our graduates (of whom we so far have 20, being our first three-year intake). We hope to contrinue to be able to show that the majority have benefited from their time at the school, either by establishing micro-businesses of their own, or perhaps just by establihing stable family homes in the vicinity.


    Donors are worried about money going astray. So we have arranged to have accounts for the school prepared by a firm of chartered accountants in Benin, who also review and advise the school on bookkeeping. We are able to follow our financial contributions through into these accounts.We have also been concerned as to whether what we are doing is truly useful, as opposed to just sounding good. For this reason, from the beginning, and still today, we consult the locals on what they require.


    We prepare and circulate an annual report for each calendar year, providing detailed background including photos of what's going on in Bonou. This report includes articles by each member of the committee.

    We also prepare formal annual accounts which are provided to the Charities Commission.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £10,000 Running costs The school costs around £10,000 to run, including the cost of three teachers and a head-mistress.
  • Background


    The school is in the commune of Bonou (population about 40,000), and specifically in the village of Bonou-Asrossa, in the south-east corner of the Republic of Benin, West Africa.


    Local young women.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have as our founder Laurence Lalanne-Devlin who has many years' experience as a journalist, both independently and with the BBC World Service, covering African affairs, and development in particular.

    All the committee have visited Benin at least once, and seen the project and met our principal collaborators there. Laurence visits Benin twice a year, to continue the personal connection and to assist in the direction of the development. (The cost of all such trips is met personally).

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Laurence Lalanne-Devlin

    She has the greatest knowledge of development in Africa.

    Dominique Hounkonnou

    Dominique, a Beninois from the Bonou region, has had an international career in development matters, and brings his experience to bear locally.