Handicap International’s goal in Togo is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through projects that promote inclusion, mother and child health, mental health, and effective physical rehabilitation. The organization first intervened in Togo in 1992. Handicap International employs 44 national staff members and seven expatriates in Togo.
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 following the death of the former president after the contested elections in 2005. However, after legislative elections in 2007 that were accepted as free and fair by the international community, Togo began to recover from an unprecedented social and political crisis. International aid, 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 begun to grow; as yet however, this has been slow to significantly impact the living conditions of the Togolese people. The country is ranked 166th out of 187 countries worldwide on the Human Development Index (2014 UNDP). 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 orthopedic fittings. People with disabilities face considerable stigma and are frequently ostracized and prevented from full participation in social, educational, and economic activities.
Mother and Child Health
Handicap International works to improve the provision of healthcare for mothers and children in Togo through training healthcare professionals and improving available medical equipment. The organization also runs awareness campaigns in village communities and school geared towards changing attitudes towards maternal and child health.
Handicap International operates a pilot project in Togo to improve the status of prisoners, both in prison and when they return to their families. The organization 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 administrative staff and all relevant stakeholders.
Physical Rehabilitation, Prosthetics, and Othotics
When it first started working in the country in 1992, Handicap International provided support to seven orthopedic fitting centers. It went on to aid in the development of the National Medical Auxiliaries School (ENAM), the only training center in West Africa for orthopedic specialists and French-speaking speech therapists. In 2000, the organization forged a partnership with the French non-profit organization Orthophonistes du Monde (ODM - Speech Therapists of the World), aimed at setting up a speech therapy service within ENAM. Handicap International continues to support ENAM and strengthen its organizational, educational, and administrative capacities.
THESE PROJECTS ARE POSSIBLE THANKS TO HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL DONORS, AND THE FOLLOWING FUNDING BODIES: