In Urban Togo
Geography & Climate
- Togo is a narrow strip of land between Benin and Ghana on Africa’s west coast. In total area, the country is about the size of West Virginia.
- Because of its length — long and narrow, north to south — Togo stretches through six distinct geographic regions.
- The climate varies from the humid, tropical coast to the dry savannah along the border with Burkina Faso.
- In the north, during the winter months, a hot dry wind called “harmattan” frequently stirs up choking dust storms.
- The country suffers from widespread deforestation.
Farming, both subsistence and commercial, is the primary economic activity in Togo. Agricultural exports include cocoa, coffee and cotton.
In the cities, such as Togo’s capital of Lomé, street and market vending are common jobs.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Togo’s average annual per capita income is the equivalent of $400, and most families are unable to provide for even the most basic of their children’s needs.
About 39 percent of the people exist on less than U.S.$1.25 per day in conditions of great need and suffering.
Phosphate mining and tourism around Lake Togo also play important roles in the country’s economy.
Children at Home
Children in Togo, where polygamy is an accepted practice, grow up in crowded homes of eight or more people.
In Lomé, where most Compassion-assisted child development centers are located, homes typically are made of cement, with roofs of metal sheets.
Even though services such as water and electricity are available, few families can afford them. Less than one-fourth of city dwellers have access to adequate sanitation facilities.
Issues and Concerns
- Frequent and prolonged dry seasons make farming a tenuous livelihood.
- Togo’s children suffer from malnutrition, malaria and diseases related to the lack of access to clean water or adequate sanitation.
- In recent years, increasingly, children have become the victims of such evils as human trafficking, violence and sexual exploitation.
- Access to health care is difficult.
- Malaria is a common yet preventable illness.
Local Needs and Challenges
Lack of clean water
Drinking water is scarce, and children often must travel several miles to find it.
Houses typically are small and poorly built, and more than half the country does not have electricity.
Many villages have no access to latrines.
Juvenile delinquency is a problem even in rural areas, in part because parents often abandon their children. Also, the teenage pregnancy rate is high.
Schools and Education
- One of the reasons Togo stays mired in poverty is the general population’s low level of education.
- The government provides free basic education, but public schools are overcrowded (about 50 pupils per teacher) and underequipped.
- Children often drop out of school to help earn income for their families. That’s why only 60 percent of Togolese age 15 and older can read and write.
Compassion Togo works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and we provide additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Compassion serves children in Togo through its child development centers. These centers, hosted by local churches, are havens of love and learning for registered children.
Here, children have the opportunity to develop their talents and abilities.
Most important, they learn about their heavenly Father and are introduced to salvation in Jesus Christ.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to urban Togo’s children in need, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- special tutoring sessions at their Compassion centers to help them succeed in their studies. As a result, the academic success rate among assisted children is above 85 percent.
- simple home water filters for assisted families to enable them to have clean water for consumption and sanitation needs
- regular parent trainings in Bible-based parenting and income-generation activities
- the Compassion curriculum, adapted specifically to the culture of Togo, which includes a variety of learning activities that help children develop in all facets of life – educational, physical, emotional/social and most important, spiritual