Academie de l'Artisanat: Helping Girls in Benin Take Control of their Reproductive Future and their Financial Life

This brochure describes the development of a project to help out of school girls in Benin.  Académie de l’Artisanat is a new take on vocational learning, one that builds agency by inspiring girls to learn new skills, and leverages that agency to help them make smart reproductive health decisions for their future.

Académie workshops are 3 hours long and held at the Centre Jeune Amour et Vie, or other teen-friendly locations where sexual and reproductive health services can be offered. Girls can participate in as many workshops as they please; they can attend once, or come back each week. As they master a skill, instructors and health educators connect their ability to create and sell their crafts with their ability to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy. Instructors can teach a range of skills, such as beading, baking and soap making.

As girls attend workshops, they progress through levels of skill-building. As a girl progresses through levels of skill-building, she is given a range of messages that link her new skills with contraception. As these messages are delivered, a health educator makes sure girls know they are invited to speak with a nurse at Amour et Vie. Nurses are always available at the close of a workshop for girls who are interested in free counseling or services.
The Académie helps girls build agency and self-efficacy. It also helps girls foster a network of support with community members, particularly older women. Girls interact with community members as equals, rather than as inferiors in a hierarchy.
The attached file has the document in both English and French.