FEATURE STORY

Creating Jobs and Reducing Social Inequalities: A Priority for Togo

July 9, 2015


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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An infrastructure and employment creation program is helping to revive local economies in a number of disadvantaged regions.
  • In the short term, these temporary jobs provided by the project serve as a social safety net by reducing beneficiaries’ vulnerability to economic instability.
  • Thanks to funding from the Community Development and Safety Nets Project, the program has established 155 basic infrastructure facilities and benefitted thousands.

TOME, July 9, 2015 —A new road is under construction in the canton of Tomé, linking it to the bustling markets of Avikpa Kondji, a village along the border between Togo and Ghana. Every day, Dafi Akou Massan goes to work at the construction site, knowing that she is contributing to building infrastructure that will change her life. “The road will make it much easier to get to the Avikpa Kondji market, as the travel distance will be reduced from 13 km to 3 km,” she cheerfully explains.

Massan is one of 10,000 Togolese, 43% of whom are women, to benefit from temporary employment that allows her to meet her daily needs and be involved in various economic activities.



" After the project is completed, I will invest some of this money in a business in order to ensure my family’s well-being "

Dafi Akou Massan

Beneficiary of the World Bank’s Community Development and Safety Nets Projects.


“I have engaged in this temporary work not only for myself, but also for my village. Each worker receives a daily wage, and a bank account in their name at the post office. After the project is completed, I will invest some of this money in a business in order to ensure my family’s well-being,” she adds.

This labor-intensive work is just one component of the Community Development and Safety Nets Project, known by the French acronym PDCplus, supported by the World Bank ($26 million) and the Government of Togo ($6 million). In addition to these temporary jobs, the project works to build essential infrastructure (schools, water stations, health centers), funds revenue generating activities for micro entrepreneurs, establishes school cafeteria programs, and finances money transfer programs in two of Togo poorest regions, Kara and Savanes. The Government of Japan also contributes to these efforts through a $2.5 million grant.

“The government’s goal, through this project, is to reduce social inequality by setting up appropriate facilities in the poorest areas. It seeks to provide people with access to education, primary health care, drinking water, and easier transportation of their products to markets, in order to provide added value to their economic activities,” noted Victoire Tomégah Dogbé, minister for local development, crafts, youth affairs and youth employment, during the mid-term project review.

The philosophy of the PDCplus is to empower beneficiary communities with sufficient capacity to take charge of their development by allowing communities to express their views on the type of infrastructure and activities they need to overcome poverty. Beneficiaries are in turn more involved in project execution and take ownership of the project’s outcomes. This is key to the program’s success.

Since its implementation in July 2012, the PDCplus has executed 155 basic infrastructure microprojects, out of the 320 planned.  Ninety schools with 248 classrooms were built, along with 13 health centers, 44 boreholes, 4 community latrines, 2 rural roads and crossing structures, and 2 market sheds. 99% of the projects funded through the program focus on income-generating activities (a total of 149 out of the 150 planned), and so far, the program counts 3,275 beneficiaries, a figure well above the 2,250 beneficiaries initially anticipated.

The school feeding program, established in 308 schools in disadvantaged areas, provides one meal a day to over 80,000 students during the school year. Under the cash transfer pilot program, which covers the Savanes and Kara regions, 13,000 beneficiaries are receiving 5,000 CFAF per month (approximately $8) to care for children under age five who are at risk of severe malnutrition. 

“The PDCplus goes beyond providing access to community facilities; it helps resolve issues of social inequality and vulnerability of Togo’s poorest. A major component of the program focuses on building human capital, and that’s why the government has reaffirmed its commitment to continue this program and is calling on technical and financial partners to help with its expansion and development,” stated Mrs. Dogbé.