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About us

Esencia de África was born from the passion to contribute to the sustainable and empowered development of the African continent, driven by absolute respect, admiration, and a deep love for its people, especially the youth and women who face many challenges. We decided to contribute to this sustainable development by promoting craftsmanship because we see it as a transformative tool that allows us to honor traditions, history, and culture while also promoting sustainability, environmental protection, and ethical business practices.

Since our inception in 2020, we have worked tirelessly to support local communities in Benin in creating jobs, strengthening skills, and promoting their cultural heritage. We are well aware of the inequalities and limitations faced by women and youth in Benin, but we firmly believe that we are building a fairer and more sustainable world for all.

"Only through admiration, respect, and love for the African continent and its people can we achieve a truly positive and meaningful impact."

Nuestra misión

Our mission

Promoting gender equality and sustainable development in Africa through the empowerment of women and the promotion of local craftsmanship.

Our work is focused on empowering women and youth to develop crafting and business skills, supporting the production and marketing of ethical and sustainable handmade products, and fostering leadership and active participation of women in their communities.

Retrato feliz

Our vision

A future where young people and women in Africa have access to economic opportunities and are empowered to lead change in their communities, while preserving the skills and culture of local craftsmanship.

Where do we operate?

Nuestra acción se lleva a cabo en Benín, un pequeño país ubicado en África Occidental con una población aproximada de 12,3 millones de habitantes. Su idioma oficial es el francés, aunque se hablan alrededor de 50 lenguas entre las que destacan el fon o el yoruba. Benín cuenta con un rico patrimonio cultural y numerosas tradiciones artesanales como el tejido kanvô y otras técnicas ancestrales. Sin embargo, la alta tasa de pobreza y falta de oportunidades hace que más de la mitad de la población viva bajo el umbral de la pobreza. Situación que se agrava más en áreas rurales donde el desempleo es común. A ello le sumamos una tasa de alfabetización en adultos del 44,9% y un esperanza de vida al nacer de tan solo 62 años.

Why Benin?

Women in Benin

Opportunities for attending school are limited for women in Benin. Additionally, 27% of women are married before the age of 18, and they face the serious issues of gender-based violence and discrimination in their communities. With a labor force participation rate of only 57.3% and political representation as low as 11%, there is a pressing need to work towards the empowerment of women in Benin.

The young people

With a significant young population, with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25, young people face obstacles in accessing decent jobs and economic opportunities. The lack of access to education and training is the major challenge that lies ahead.

The craftsmanship

Craftsmanship is an important part of Benin's economy and culture. Most artisans work informally, and their livelihoods depend on the sale of their products. Many of them lack access to markets and face challenges in marketing their products. Additionally, it is common for artisans to lack access to the necessary training and education to improve their skills and create more innovative and appealing products for consumers.

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Founding team

We are a small team but with big ambitions. We work together for the same objectives from a shared vision in which love and respect between Spain and Benin prevail.

Beatriz Catalán. Co-founder and President of the Association in Spain.

Bruno Ahokpe. Co-founder and Field Manager of the projects in Benin.

Laure Adonon. Leader of the women's group in Benin

Natalie Dossou. Head of the School of Crafts in Benin

We need your collaboration to make it possible!

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