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Thank you for rising to the Challenge!12.13.12

BEF’s annual DECEMBER CHALLENGE ended with a bang! Your generous support raised $14,065 in just 31 days.

There is still time to donate if you haven’t yet. Every dollar raised will provide scholarships and educational support to promising high school and university students in West Africa.



$25: Buy school supplies for a high schooler
Pay public school tuition for a girl
Purchase science books for 6 students
Cover public school tuition, fees, books, uniform and school supplies for a high school student for 1 year
Send a student to college for 1 year
Cover 1 year of medical school

Or click here if you would prefer to donate via check

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World AIDS Day Event in Benin12.06.10

StudentschantingOn December 5, 2010, in Natitingou, Benin, the Mayor’s office held their annual World AIDS Day Event.  World AIDS Day 2010 raised awareness to tackle HIV prejudice and help stop the spread of HIV in Benin.

Nearly 140 BEF students from Natitingou and three surrounding villages - Perma, Toucountouna, and Tempegre - participated in the World AIDS Day activities.

The Mayor’s office organized a parade through the city center, where students showcased their HIV/AIDS awareness. PSI, Population Services International, a leading global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health, provided condoms to those in attendance.  More information about PSI can be found at their website:

Girls skitA local doctor who specializes in treatment of HIV/AIDS patients spoke to students about prevention of HIV/AIDS. During the event students were offered free HIV testing and students from the Lycée de Jeune Fille, an all girl’s boarding school, performed a skit.

After the event, BEF students enjoyed sodas and sandwiches and recapped the important information they had learned throughout the day.


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Over $6000 Raised for Flood Relief!11.03.10

In just a few weeks, dozens of individuals came together and raised over $6000 to help victims of the floods in Benin.  Thank you to each and every donor for your generosity, support, and rapid response.  Every dollar raised will go directly to flood relief.  The BEF founder is currently in Benin to distribute the funds and we will provide an update upon his return.

About the Floods

Over the past 2 months, the most extreme floods since 1963 have plunged Benin into a crisis. As of early November, over 680,000 people have been affected by flooding in two-thirds of the country. Over 800 cases of cholera have been reported. Approximately 55,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. Read more here.  These events have received very little coverage in the U.S. media.

flood photoBlessedly, most BEF students live outside the worst-affected areas - but they, and we, are anxious to help their fellow citizens in need. Our students have been surveying damage and identifying the greatest material needs, and BEF established a fund for Flood Relief.

BEF Founder Alphonse Kouagou is traveling to Benin this month.  Funds raised will purchase supplies for those who need them most.  All supplies, except for water purifying tablets, will be purchased in Benin.

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Help a BEF Student Win $1000 for his business11.01.10

Nicolas N'DaVote by November 15 to help BEF student Nicolas N’Da win $1000 for his business idea!  Nicolas is one of BEF’s star students and has long dreamed of running his own farm.  A few years ago, Nicholas sought BEF’s help to transfer to a technical school that provides hands-on education in farming, animal husbandry and veterinary care.  Nicholas has become an exemplary student. He completed a 4-month internship at the world-renowned Songhai farms, which practice and teach sustainable agriculture.  He then earned a prestigious national scholarship to continue his studies at the National Agricultural Institute.  Nicolas entered a business plan in the Peace Corps Africa Rural Connect competition and is in 2nd place!  You can support him by voting for his project.  Visit, register, and search for “Benin” to find Nicolas’ project.  Endorse him by November 15! 

*The site can be slow - it may take a few hours for your registration to process.  Please hang in there!

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BEF to support budding entrepreneurs through a business plan competition10.19.10

To create vocational and entrepreneurial opportunities for BEF students, we are conducting a business plan competition starting in 2011. Interested high school and university students will attend a business plan writing workshop, craft their idea, assemble their team and submit a finalized business plan. The competition is open to business plans representing any industry or concept and will be judged based on merit and likelihood of success. BEF plans to award cash and consultation support to the top 3 entries, with cash awards totaling $10,000. If you would like to sponsor the business plan competition, or for more information, please contact us!

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BEF Program Highlights08.07.10

In the 2009-2010 school year, BEF sponsored:

  • 187 high school students in 17 high schools
  • 4 students in 2 trade schools.
  • 40 college students

Our primary school program funded 4 teachers and delivered supplies to 5 primary schools, benefiting about 475 elementary students.


  • 11 BEF students passed the BAC and graduated from high school.
  • 24 BEF scholars passed the national middle school exam (”BEPC”). BEF’s pass rate was 70%, well above the national pass rate of 55% - evidence that BEF continues to improve our selection of, and support to, our students.


BEF’s main goal is to help high school students graduate and pass the BAC (the French baccalaureate exam). We also support BEF graduates in university and help rural primary schools.

Over the years we have learned that helping high school students graduate requires more than simply paying their school fees. BEF now provides housing for those who must leave their villages to attend school. We arrange preventative health care and treatment, because recurring illnesses are a major barrier to success. We recruit local mentors to advise our students on critical topics like nutrition and wellness, AIDS prevention, and reproductive health. We support special programs that reflect a range of student interests including tutoring, sports, theater, English, technology, and training in business plan development and entrepreneurship.

We identify top students who are in danger of dropping out because their families cannot pay their school fees. We screen applicants carefully and select only those who meet our criteria. We commit to support our scholars until they graduate high school, as long as they maintain good grades. To ensure we can provide the range of support every student needs, we cap the number of scholarship recipients in the program. As students graduate, we accept a limited number of new students through applications and referrals.

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London Event Raises $130007.17.10

On July 16, 2010, friends of BEF met in London for a happy hour fundraiser at Davy’s wine bar. More than 30 people attended and raised $1300 for BEF. Big thanks to the Oxford MBA alumni network in London for supporting the event, and thank you to long-time BEF supporter Julie Wallace for organizing and hosting. The funds will be used to support BEF’s business plan competition.

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BEF Photos and Videos11.02.08

Visit BEF’s Photostream on Flickr:

Short Video about BEF

Photos of BEF 10-year Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser

Photos of BEF Students

Photos of BEF Volunteers, Staff and Advisors

Photos of BEF Board Trip to Benin in Jan-Feb 2009

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