The Educational program in Togo, that was started in 2009 and that Action10 is now working on together with the Togolese organization IARAD , has had many successes throughout the years. In the following article, the latest developments and news from year 2012 are reported.
The main goals of the program have been to support street children and orphans so that they can attend primary school, to coach and train the children, their families and their teachers on children’s rights as well as to inform about the importance of education. From year 2011 basic education is offered for free by the Togolese government, but in order for the children to attend school there are still many other needs that have to be fulfilled.
In order to enroll in primary school, every child has to have a birth certificate. The birth certificates are mostly issued in the cities and to travel to the cities is very costly for many of the families living in the Togolese rural areas. The cost of traveling and the fact that for some families, getting a good education is not considered to be that valuable, result in some families opting not to go through all the hassle of getting birth certificates for their children. Consequently, two of the goals with the Educational program in Togo are to spread awareness among the Togolese people on the importance of education and the importance of applying for birth certificates for the children.
In order for the children to be able to go to school and learn, the children need energy and thereby they need food as well as they need to be healthy. In addition to this, the children and the teachers need school supplies such as books, chalk, pens, notebooks and so on. The Educational program includes goals to ensure that also these needs are fulfilled.
So how did it go in 2012?
First to one of the biggest successes of them all. From the end of 2011 until the end of 2012, the number of sponsored children increased greatly from 25 children in 2011 to 91 sponsored children in 2012! One of the other major successes of the program was that all sponsored children have been able to eat not only once a day, but twice. A new development in 2012 was that for the first time, all the sponsored children were offered home work support twice a week. Small steps were also taken to equip each child with special books, where their home work were to be recorded. Books for reading and books for mathematics were still available for all the children in school and the sponsored children continued doing well on their exams (around 75% success rate). It was noted though that girls did not do as well in schools as boys. Our Togolese Partners made the analysis that this is a consequence of the burden of household work for girls. Through the Action10 Evaluation Planning tool, a strategy to address this issue in a manner that is culturally appropriate is being developed.
Some other successes of this program that should be mentioned are that physical punishment was reduced to being rarely an issue, and small steps were taken to achieve the goal to distribute medical notebooks to each one of the sponsored children.
Obviously the program does not come without challenges. Action10 is not afraid of challenges nor of making mistakes. The important matter is to learn from mistakes and to not repeat them again. Action10 is therefore developing and implementing a training and coaching program on Finance Administration and Accounting together with local Program Partners. We are also developing a Conflict Resolution Strategy.
The program has some major and well identified challenges ahead of it and many more children are out there needing our support. However, step by step, this program is working the magic of Action10s strategy and showing wonderful results from it.