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Fear, taboos, cultural beliefs and fatalism result in the stigmatisation and isolation of people with disabilities in Togo. Handicap International offers them support and is committed to changing people’s attitudes towards disability.

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Fear, taboos, cultural beliefs and fatalism result in the stigmatisation and isolation of people with disabilities in Togo. Handicap International offers them support and is committed to changing people’s attitudes towards disability.
Fear, taboos, cultural beliefs and fatalism result in the stigmatisation and isolation of people with disabilities in Togo. Handicap International offers them support and is committed to changing people’s attitudes towards disability.

Our actions

In Togo, 58.7% of the population lives below the poverty threshold. The number of people with disabilities is estimated at around 620,000, and 10% of these are thought to require orthopaedic fitting. Moreover, many communities believe that people with disabilities are the victims of a curse, that someone cast a spell on them, or that they are being punished for some parents’ disrespect for traditions or social rules of their community. These perceptions often lead parents of disabled children to hide them from public view. Excluded from playing with other children, from attending school and other sources of learning, children with disabilities often grow up to be equally marginalised adults. With the collaboration of a number of partners, in both the community and government sectors, Handicap International is working to change this situation.

When it first started working in the country in 1992, the organisation provided support to seven orthopaedic fitting centres. It went on to support the development of the National Medical Auxiliaries School (ENAM), the only training centre in West Africa for orthopaedic specialists and French-speaking speech therapists. In 2000, the organisation forged a partnership with the French non-profit organisation Orthophonistes du Monde (Speech Therapists of the World), aimed at setting up a speech therapy service within ENAM. Handicap International will continue to support ENAM until the end of 2015, helping the institution to cement its international reputation and ensuring that the administrative and financial systems in place are sound. 

Handicap International is committed to promoting the social inclusion of people with disabilities by proposing practical solutions in a range of areas: orthopaedic fitting and rehabilitation services, training for professionals, healthcare (in particular for mothers, babies and school-age children), inclusive education, disability awareness at community level, advocacy campaigns and initiatives to champion the rights of people with disabilities. It is essential to get across the idea that people with disabilities are citizens in their own right, capable of playing an active role in society.

Finally, Handicap International is running a pilot project in Togo aimed at improving the status of prisoners, both in prison and when they return to their families. The organisation wants to highlight the negative impact of incarceration on prisoners’ mental health. The aim is to put forward solutions to encourage greater consideration of this issue both by prison administration staff and all relevant stakeholders (prisoners’ families, communities, mental health clinics etc.).

Areas of work

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Change a life

Background

Since 1991, Togo has been undergoing a growing economic crisis and the absence of political change over the past 40 years has resulted in drastic cuts in international aid. Today, the country is showing signs of recovery. 

The country’s economic indicators deteriorated still further following the death of the former president, after the contested elections in 2005. However, after legislative elections in 2007 which were accepted as free and fair by the international community, Togo began to recover from an unprecedented social and political crisis that had endured for 19 years. International cooperation, which had been blocked due to the lack of democracy, was resumed. In March 2010, the presidential elections were held without incident, resulting in a victory for the sitting president.

Since then, Togo’s economy has returned to growth. As yet however, this has been slow to impact positively on the living conditions of the Togolese people. The country is ranked 166th out of 187 countries worldwide on the Human Development Index (2014 UNDP).

Key Figures Togo - Handicap International
Key Figures Togo - Handicap International
WHERE your support HELPS

Partners

  • ENAM project
    Organisational assistance and training support for the National Medical Auxiliaries College in Lomé, Togo

    • ENAM is both the project’s partner and beneficiary; it is the official implementing partner.
    • Line ministries: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the Ministry of Public Services and the Ministry of Technical Education and Occupational Training

    Mother and child health

    • Family Health Division 
    • Management of regional health for the maritime region 
    • Yoto's Prefectural Health Management
    • CNAO (National Centre for Othopaedic fitting)
    • NGO "Jourdain Vie et Santé"

    Prison and Mental Health
    Project carried out in Togo (civil prisons in Lomé, Kara and Dapaong) and in three other countries: Lebanon, Madagascar and the Republic of South Sudan

    • Young Men's Christian Association in Togo (YMCA TOGO)
    • Yendubé Mental Health Centre in Dapaong
    • Paul Louis Renée Health Centre in Lomé
    • Togolese Federation of Disabled People's Organisations
    • Prison administration management

    Inclusive education (APPEHL) 
    Regional project run in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau

    • The Togolese Federation of Disabled People's Organisations
    • The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education