Lomé

Lomé

Lome, the capital city of Togo, has a population of more than 837,000. Lome is located on the Gulf of Guinea, and common jobs in Lome are street and market vending. In Lome and in the country of Togo, farming - both subsistence and commercial - is the primary economic activity, with agricultural exports of cocoa, coffee, and cotton. 

Togo

The Location

 

The Population

6,961,049

The Religion

Christian, Muslim, indigenous beliefs

The Weather

 
 
  • These newly registered Compassion children understand that they now have hope and help to face their country’s worst problems, including malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation. Togo Children Outside of their Center
  • These children in the Compassion program in Togo are enjoying nutritious food together. Togo Children Eating a Nutritious Meal
  • Many village houses like this one don’t adequately protect children and their families from bad weather. Improving housing is one of Compassion’s goals after a natural disaster. Togo Small Home with a Thatch Roof
  • Compassion children learn and play at their center with pastors and staff. At the centers, children learn skills to escape poverty. Togo Smiling Girls Closeup
  • These Compassion-assisted children spend time in prayer. Through caring sponsors and local staff, they experience God's love firsthand. Togo Children Praying
  • Because of security problems and road conditions, Agamakou Olivier often takes a motorcycle to reach the centers he oversees. Togo Project Facilitator on Motorcycle
 

Overview: Togo

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, and has a population of about 6.2 million people. More than 41 percent of Togolese are age 14 and under.

Togo is a melting pot of 37 different African tribes. The Ewe, Mina and Kabre tribes are the largest, and French is the country’s official language.

For years, Togo has been the target of international criticism for its human rights record and questionable political governance. Since 2005, up to 40,000 Togolese have fled the country to avoid the conflict, and another 10,000 have been displaced within the country.

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 also suffers from widespread deforestation.

Although the evangelical church is growing in Togo, about 40 percent of the people still follow traditional, animist beliefs. Many worship the gods of thunder and of snakes, believing that these gods will protect them.

 

Culture Corner

Here are three phrases commonly used in Togo that you can use when writing to your sponsored child:

Mawu ne yrawò!
God bless you!

Akpe.
Thank you.

Eke nawoa?
How are you?

TOGO BANANAS

Make this simple, traditional dessert — a favorite among Togolese children.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 6 bananas, peeled and chopped

PROCEDURE

Melt butter in oven-proof dish over low heat on the stove. Add turmeric.

Stir over low heat for 1 minute.

Add bananas and turn to coat with the butter.

Place covered dish in the center of the oven preheated to 350°. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bananas are cooked through. Enjoy while still warm.

 

Life in Togo

Togo’s climate is hot and humid in the tropical southern part of the country and semiarid in the north. Monsoons help farmers grow crops, but in recent years drought has been a serious problem. Many adults are small-time traders who struggle financially after the busy holiday season. Phosphate mining and tourism around Lake Togo also play important roles in the country’s economy.

Togolese art includes various textiles, handcrafted gold and silver jewelry, traditional masks, and woodcarvings. The Togolese enjoy playing a variety of drums, and this music is often accompanied by dance. Most songs are sung in the Ewe language.

Togo is home to 37 indigenous tribes that make up 99 percent of the population. The largest and most influential tribes are the Ewe, Mina and Kabre.

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 Compassion’s child development centers are all 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. Also, less than one-fourth of city dwellers have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

 

Community Issues and Concerns Community in Togo

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 $1.25 per day in conditions of great need and suffering.

Farming, both subsistence and commercial, is the primary economic activity in Togo. Agricultural exports include cocoa, coffee and cotton. However, frequent and prolonged dry seasons make farming a tenuous livelihood. In the cities, such as Togo’s capital of Lomé, street and market vending are common jobs.

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, they have become the victims of such evils as human trafficking, violence and sexual exploitation.

Local Needs and Challenges

Access to health care is difficult. Malaria is a common yet preventable illness. 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. Juvenile delinquency is a problem even in rural areas, in part because parents often abandon their children. The teenage pregnancy rate is high. Proper sanitation is a problem, and many villages have no access to latrines.

 

Schools and Education Education in Togo

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.

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.

 

Working Through the Local Church

Because of its proximity, resources and cultural expertise, the local church is in a unique and crucial position to help Compassion apply its curriculum. All child development centers in Togo use Compassion’s age-appropriate curriculum, which addresses children’s cognitive, physical, emotional and spiritual needs, and is specialized by country. Many children blossom through the program. Even non-Christian parents are open to sending their young ones to Compassion because they see very positive results in children’s behavior, health, spiritual life and personalities. One Togolese pastor says, “We even want Compassion to give us permission to implement the curriculum in our Sunday school because we think it is such a reliable tool.”

How Compassion Works in Togo Compassion in Togo

Compassion’s work in Togo began in 2007. Currently, more than 17,600 children participate in 84 child development centers. Compassion partners with churches and denominations to help them provide Togolese children with the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all that God has created them to be.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

The Partnership Facilitator is the key link between Compassion and churches, and the first person church partners contact if a problem arises. The facilitator shares Compassion’s vision with the churches and oversees its implementation at centers. Facilitator Agamakou Olivier, for example, strives to ensure a respectful and trusting relationship with the churches and families so all benefit. Olivier's work also includes meeting with children and churches, ensuring paperwork is correct, and identifying and solving problems.

Olivier overseas about 12 centers around the town of Tabligbo. To visit church partners there, he uses motorcycle taxis because roads are unpaved. Before becoming a facilitator, Olivier was a center director, which helped prepare him for his current role. He is so passionate about children that he helps even those who have moved away from centers to attend Compassion programs.

 
 

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the end of political unrest in Togo, and that peace will reign, leading to greater development for the country.
  • Pray that the staff members in Togo’s 23 Compassion-assisted child development centers will be encouraged in their work.
  • Pray for the families of our children who are struggling to survive on very little income.
  • Pray for the health of the children, who are vulnerable to a host of health problems ranging from malnutrition to malaria.