Our fifth School Project – C.E.G. Yara Kabye
Our fifth school has been built in 2016 in Yara Kabye, a village in the Central region of Togo.
The village Yara Kabye is located in the Central Region of Togo. The village has a population of approximately 2,000 people. Its primary ethnic group is Kabye while its secondary ethnic group is Kotokoli. The village has a total of three primary schools and one CEG. The CEG has a total of 250 students. There are currently 156 boys and 94 girls enrolled. There are six teachers and one director of the CEG. The CEG curriculum includes mathematics, science, French, history and geography, physical education, and English.
The school consists of five thatched and tin roof structures supported by wooden posts. There are mud brick exterior walls on three of the five classroom structures. There is no electricity in the CEG. There is no classroom structure built for teachers. Teachers have resorted to arranging students’ desks in a designated area outside the classrooms as their area to discuss CEG matters and plan classes. The CEG rents a small room about 0,5 km away from the CEG to store textbooks and school supplies.
The CEG faces a shortage of textbooks as they were purchased many years ago and have since undergone much damage due to students’ daily use. The classes held in the thatched and tin roofed classroom structures are commonly disrupted by rain. Students are often disrupted by the school’s activities going on outside their classroom as there are no enclosing walls. The CEG also faces a high dropout rate of girls particularly after girls’ second year of CEG. Many of the girls’ dropouts are due to early pregnancy, child trafficking, and child marriage.
Peace Corps volunteer Saumya, who is in her second year of service, is currently living in Yara Kabye. Saumya has initiated student clubs in the CEG including a youth leaders club, an English club, and a girls´ soccer team. She has also organized a training for the club in partnership with Education Togo on the importance of girls’ education. Club members discussed the issue of high dropout rates among girls in their CEG as well as how to combat the Togolese cultural norm of unequal house work between girls and boys, as Togolese girls are often given more chores compared to boys.
The Yara Kabye village is very enthusiastic about achieving development in their village and is eager to organize development projects with Togolese organizations such as Education Togo. Saumya is committed to mobilizing community members to contribute to all development initiatives.
With joined forces we made it happen!
Within only three months we’ve built a new school for more than 350 secondary students from Yara Kabyè and the surrounding villages. After the cornerstone was laid in mid-January professionals and volunteers from the village, US Peace Corps and Education Togo, all worked hand in hand to finish the construction works as soon as possible. As division of labor is common in the Togolese society, women were responsible for filling up the water tank at the construction site every morning in order to ensure continuous work whereas men worked as professionals and volunteers on the construction site itself. The community not only contributed labor but also land and natural supplies like for example gravel and sand. These heavy materials had to be carried by the bucket up from the river and to the new school.
Education Togo contributed (in large parts) the financial means as well as its experience in construction work and project management towards the success of this project. And then, three months later, a dream for the inhabitants of Yara Kabyè came true! The new school building painted in the lovely colors of orange and red opened its doors on a Monday morning for girls and boys eager to learn. This solid and secure building – where flying tin roofs would no longer be a danger – was built right in time before the rainy season starts. This means no more disrupted lessons due to storms and rain and other disturbances from outside the classroom. With enclosing walls, students are now able to stay focused and concentrate on their subjects. But also for the hard-working and dedicated Peace Corps volunteer Saumya a dream came true: teaching English in a school just under thatched roofs and wood poles for the past two years, she can now finish her service in an actual building with even more motivated kids in her classroom.
The inauguration ceremony was held on 22 April 2016. The celebrations were opened with the national anthem sung by the students of the CEG. Some of the guests then took the opportunity to express their gratitude but also to address future ambitions to improve the quality of children’s education in the village. In between the celebrations were accompanied by the rhythmical beat of drums, by amazing traditional dances from different ethnic groups and by songs and poems. Excitement and joy loomed on the faces of the participants when the red-and-white ribbon was cut by the Regional Director for Education and Razak, Head of Education Togo’s local branch, and the doors of the classrooms were finally opened.
The pictures below show the progress of the school building from the very beginning until today…