75 percent of Togo’s population subsists exclusively from farming. However, the harvests are usually too low. The GRC is therefore helping women in a total of 40 villages to improve their agricultural yield and hence also their income.
In their search for a secure source of income men often leave their rural homes, leaving their women behind, usually without any formal school training or economic security. The main reason for this is that lack of rain, poor soil fertility and climate changes are causing smaller harvests and represent a massive threat to people living in Togo. After all, sufficient food can only be grown on good soils. This being the case, the specific project objective is to improve women’s socio-economic standing and to increase soil fertility.
Higher crop yields, higher income
In addition to 1000 households with biological latrines, built by the GRC in a previous project, our current focus is above all on the members of the 50 Mother Clubs; club members receive training in how to make compost from crop and household waste and use latrines to produce fertilizer to make their soils more fertile. In addition, nitrogen-enriching plants such as the mucuna bean, the cajunus (pigeon pea) and the albizia acacia have been introduced and people educated in the responsible use of fertilizers.
The "field schools" cooperating with this project are used by local agricultural advisors to teach more effective farming techniques which the course participants can then use on their family fields. To this end they also receive improved seeds and learn how to produce seed themselves. The participants are also sensitised on aspects of environmental protection and resource conservation, for example when planting and caring for tree nurseries.
As soon as the families' harvests have improved, they can sell the surplus and have a much more secure livelihood. In order to market the produce better, the German Red Cross is cooperating with volunteers of the Togolese Red Cross Society to transfer important know-how on proper storage and processing of the crops.
German Red Cross team member Andrea Kehrwald describes her experience with the new farming methods in Togo in the GRC blog.
More help for women
Most women living in the project area know too little about their own rights. As a rule they have no birth certificates or ID cards, neither for themselves nor their children. Similarly the Mother Clubs are not officially registered and are therefore not legally recognised. The economic leeway and opportunities to gain credits or funding are very limited for the women. To improve their status they receive training on economic issues and are advised to register their children -for example for later schooling or for health care. This helps strengthen the families and they are better able to take their futures into their own hands.
Region: Prefectures Avé and Zio, Maritime
Duration: 01.02.2015 -31.07.2017
Project volume: 575 000 Euro
Financing: Federal ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ)
Partners: Togolese Red Cross (TRC)