The Carter Center worked with the Togolese people (Ewa, Mina, and Kabre) to build a healthier, more prosperous future through Guinea worm disease elimination and agricultural development.
In 1992, Togo's national Guinea Worm Eradication Program began its first search for cases of Guinea worm disease and found 8,179 cases of infection in 584 villages. Togo is the size of the U.S. state of West Virginia, making the short distance between Guinea worm disease-endemic and non-endemic areas a concern when elimination efforts began.
The Carter Center's involvement with the national program began in 2002, with the establishment of 17 Guinea worm care centers, or case containment centers, where patients received basic medical attention for their wounds and education on how to prevent the spread of the parasite to others. In partnership with U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, the program also conducted multiple, successful educational outreach programs called "Worm Weeks." Village-based health workers and supervisors used T-shirts and medical bags with the transmission cycle printed on them to teach villagers about how to prevent Guinea worm disease.
These combined efforts yielded success in December 2006, when the program declared its last case in the village of Kpégno Agoromé.
The Carter Center began assisting Togo with agricultural development in the early 1990s as part of an overarching vision to build healthier lives in the country.
From 1993 to 1998, the Carter Center's Agriculture Program, in partnership with the Sasakawa Africa Association, led by the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, helped Togolese farmers improve food security. The Togolese program was part of a larger effort that helped more than 8 million small-scale sub-Saharan African farmers grow more food and enjoy better nutrition and health.
Farmers were provided with credit for fertilizers and seeds to grow production test plots. As part of a post-harvest program in 1996, 360 cribs and 90 silos were constructed to store produce. A year later, in conjunction with Togo's Ministry of Rural Development, 1,000 Togolese farmers planted a total of 500 maize test plots, 500 cassava test plots, 300 rice test plots, 750 mucuna plots, and 150 quality protein maize test plots.
Following successful harvests that usually doubled or tripled crop yields, the farmers taught their neighbors about the new technologies, creating a ripple effect to stimulate food self-sufficiency in the nation.
The program also helped Togolese farmers increase their profit margins by identifying cost-effective, local markets for their surpluses; and it facilitated projects focused on post-harvest technologies, including methods for processing and storing. Neighboring countries in the program that share crop seasons were encouraged to foster lasting cooperative efforts.
During the five years of the program's work in Togo, 15 rural savings and loan companies were established, helping more than 2,000 farmers to save their money and develop their farms. These successes and others in agricultural development programming led The Carter Center and the Sasakawa Africa Association to end its in-country food security activities in Togo in 1998.
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Size: 56,785 square kilometers
Population below poverty line: 32 percent
Life expectancy: 65 years
Ethnic groups: African (37 tribes; largest and most important are Ewe, Mina, and Kabre), European and Syrian-Lebanese
Religions: Christian, Muslim, indigenous beliefs
Languages: French (official, the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016