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Angélique Kidjo raises awareness on child rights in her native Benin

UNICEF Image: Benin, Anjelique Kidjo
© UNICEF/HQ07-1287/Asselin
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo holds slate with the message, ‘Papa and Mama, I want to go to school’, on a visit to Benin.

By Anwulika Okafor

SÔ-AVA, Benin, 13 September 2007 – World renowned singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo is in her home country of Benin this week to raise awareness about child rights.

As part of her tour, she will visit communities across the nation, talking to leaders and parents about the benefits of education for all – especially girls.

Already, Ms. Kidjo has taken part in several events as part of a campaign titled ‘Toutes les Filles a L’ecole’ (All Girls to School). On a ride with hundreds of taxi motorcycles called ‘zemidjans’, for example, both the drivers and Ms. Kidjo wore brightly coloured jackets emblazoned with the campaign title. Throngs of people crowded around to learn more and hear from the Goodwill Ambassador.

UNICEF Image: Benin, Anjelique Kidjo
© UNICEF Video
A ‘zemidjans’ driver wears jacket supporting Benin’s ‘Toutes les Filles a L’ecole’ (All Girls to School) campaign.
As part of the official campaign launch, Ms. Kidjo traveled to the village of Sô-Ava, where she joined Benin’s new UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the singer known as Zeynab, to celebrate progress in reducing the gap between the number of young girls and boys in school in Benin.

Together, the two ambassadors asked everyone to do his or her part to ensure access to education for all children.

Far-reaching benefits of education

At another stop, Ms. Kidjo toured a kindergarten that is providing early childhood education while giving mothers an opportunity to do their own work.
UNICEF Image: Benin, Anjelique Kidjo
© UNICEF/HQ07-1291/Asselin
Angélique Kidjo greets a baby and other residents while visiting the village of Alandohou in Benin.
These women, using micro-credit funds provided with the support of UNICEF, are generating income that is not only paying for the education of their youngest but also allowing for their older children to attend school as well.

“In order to improve the economies of our countries in Africa, we need more children to go to school. In order to decrease child mortality, we need kids to go to school. In order for us to fight the pandemic of HIV/AIDS, we need our kids to go to school,” said Ms. Kidjo.

For the rest of the four-day trip, Ms. Kidjo has been visiting more schools and meeting with women's groups and child victims of human trafficking.  




12 September 2007:
UNICEF correspondent Anwulika Okafor reports on UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo’s trip to Benin.
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