First Lady of Benin launches the Claudine Talon Foundation to improve the lives of women and children across the country

03 March 2017

The First Lady of Benin has launched a foundation to improve the lives of the most vulnerable women and children in the western African country, nestled between Nigeria and Togo. The foundation will work under the umbrella of six core values: solidarity, the family, respect for differences, integrity, humility and efficiency.

The Claudine Talon Foundation will take a holistic approach to improving health and social outcomes for women and children in Benin. It will focus on expanding maternal and paediatric health services, improving general hygiene and sanitation, increasing access to quality drinking water, improving standards of nutrition and raising literacy rates through a wider access to education. Activities will include increasing access to HIV testing in paediatric health centres and supporting organizations caring for orphans. It will also focus on ending discrimination for people living with and affected by HIV.

Benin has made significant progress in its AIDS response in recent years, particularly in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and increasing access to life-saving antiretroviral medicines. Around half of all adults living with HIV in Benin currently have access to treatment. However, key populations are still disproportionately affected by HIV. The foundation hopes to break down the stigma preventing people from accessing life-saving HIV services.

The importance of scaling up support services for women and young people in Benin is evident. Estimates show that 39% of people live below the poverty line in the country and that 45% of the population is under the age of 15.

The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, was present at the launch and said that the humility and profound commitment of the First Lady to creating a fairer and more just society will improve the lives of women and children in Benin, restoring dignity, inspiring change and creating opportunity. The First Lady thanked Mr Sidibé and UNAIDS for the support given to the foundation and to the response to HIV in Benin.


“Today in Benin, for every 100 000 babies born, 335 women die giving birth. This is an example of the challenges we face. Women must be empowered to manage their own reproductive health and I am convinced that together we can improve the health of women and children in Benin.”

Claudine Talon First Lady of Benin

“I am very proud to support the launch of the Claudine Talon Foundation. The foundation’s emphasis on inclusion and solidarity is the keystone of successful health and development efforts. The foundation will be a driving force in creating a better future for women and children in Benin. Claudine Talon has a burning desire to give to others.”

Michel Sidibé UNAIDS Executive Director