The West African country of Togo belongs to the poorest countries in the world. The majority of the population lives from small-scale farming and there is hardly any work. Women in particular are often economically disadvantaged. And almost every second child helps in the household, in the fields or in the markets instead of attending school.
Kolping in Togo
There have been Kolping Families in Togo since 2005, and a National Association with headquarters in Lomé has existed since 2008. Currently, about 2,000 members are active in more than 50 Kolping Families, especially in the rural areas – in Aného, Kpalimé, Atakpamé, Kara and the suburban districts of Lomé.
The most important focus of KOLPING Togo’s support is rural development. The yields of small farmers are meager, and the food situation is often precarious. Moreover, the country is severely affected by climate change: Droughts and floods are increasing. If this leads to crop failures, the prevailing malnutrition quickly turns into hunger. KOLPING Togo supports smallholder families with training in suitable (and climate change-adapted) cultivation techniques, small-scale livestock farming and the production of organic fertilizer. Harvest yields are also increased through the use of more resistant seeds. Often families even have harvest surpluses that they can sell on the market or process into durable products and thus added value and income increase. Local measures also include water projects and latrine construction, savings and microcredit groups, and targeted support for women:
Success with simple technology
The diocese of Kpalimé is located about 105 kilometres north of the capital Lomé. The Kolping Family of Kpimé is based there. Some years ago, the members still had problems to water the plants on their fields although there was a small river nearby. But there were no pumps available which would transport the water to the fields. Today the fields around the Church are in bloom. The fresh vegetables sell good on the market. The community field is now cultivated and irrigated by the members of the Kolping Family on a regular basis, and the yields are distributed equally among the members. A local craftsman has created a hand pump which is easy to operate and allows them to irrigate the fields. The Kolping Family now wants to expand to provide individual fields with more pumps. The water project by Kolping was a great success and has increased the quality of life of many members.
Kolping does an excellent job: Although the association is still young, the Kolping Families‘ members help themselves. They work together in savings groups and community projects to increase their income. In addition to training courses and livestock projects, it is primarily the water projects and the use of pumps and wells which increase the yields of the Kolping Families.