Where We Work

Snapshot of Togo

54%

of people live below the poverty line

60

years is the average life expectancy

88%

lack access to improved sanitation

Togo remains one of the poorest nations in Africa, and an ongoing and bitter political dispute through much of 2018 means that life is unlikely to get easier for most Togolese, at least in the short term.

Togo, on Africa’s west coast, was granted independence in 1960 after decades of colonisation, first by Germany and then, following World War I, by Britain and France. Shortly after, Gnassingbé Eyadéma seized power in bloodless coup and ruled for almost 40 years.

Throughout that time, Togo has struggled with issues of poverty. Poor sanitation facilities and a general inaccessibility to safe drinking water, along with a lack of access to good medical care, particularly in rural areas, have cost many lives and held back the nation’s development. In fact, Togo has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, and, according to UNICEF, more than half of the population still lives below the poverty line.

This has a significant impact on children. Without other options, many are forced into prostitution or child labour: 35.7 per cent of children aged five to 14 are involved in child labour, which can interfere with schooling and expose children to dangerous situations.

Forced child labour occurs in the agricultural sector—particularly on coffee, cocoa, and cotton farms—as well as in stone and sand quarries. As well, children from rural areas are brought to the capital, Lomé, and forced to work as domestic servants, roadside vendors and porters, or exploited in prostitution.

Through much of 2018, the nation has been caught up in a protracted political disagreement between President Faure Gnassingbé Eyadéma and opposition parties, who are demanding he place limits on how many terms a president can serve—and step down. President Eyadéma was elected in 2005 following the death of his father, former President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, and each of his subsequent electoral victories (in 2010 and 2015) has been met with opposition protest and claims of vote-rigging; yet each time the elections have been declared free and fair by independent observers.

Peter Komlavi Ataty

Letter from Togo Country Director Peter Komlavi Ataty

Dear Sponsor, I am Komlavi Peter Ataty. I have been Country Director of Compassion Togo since 15 October 2009. Gospel singing, dancing, playing piano, reading and swimming are my key hobbies. I have two daughters respectively named Yolande and Blessings. Jennifer is my wife’s name.

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Julien’s Victory Over Malaria

Julien Tchakpana, the principal health worker in the district hospital of Amlamé, administered malaria medication to the comatose child on the bed—and prayed he wasn’t too late. He stood for a moment, head bowed; it was a scene at once heart-breaking and too familiar.

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Prayer requests for Togo

  • Please pray for the political standoff in the nation to be resolved peacefully and soon; pray for the safety of local staff, church partners, and especially the children and their families, as tensions are running high.
  • Please pray for Mariette, a Compassion assisted girl, whose mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, leaving her behind. Please pray for healing and for God to reconcile their relationship; please also pray that God will give Mariette a safe place to live and people around her who will care for her.
  • Please pray for several boys who are struggling at school and have been skipping classes and acting out in other ways. Pray for Beaugard, who wanders about when he should be at school, and for Germain, who is becoming increasingly disobedient and difficult to advise. And for Atsu and Etse, both 12, who have also been skipping school. Pray that God will move in their lives to show them how much He loves them; pray for their caregivers and the centre staff, that they will be patient and wise in how they manage the situation.
  • Pray for John, a Compassion Togo staff member working in the national office, whose mother recently passed away. Pray for him in this time of loss and grief, that God will comfort him and draw him close.
  • And please pray for Amandine, a Compassion assisted girl, who is suffering from an unknown disease. Doctors have done some tests and said analysis would be done in France to determine the cause of her illness; pray for healing and for peace as she waits.