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ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

Background statement

In most of the Sub-Saharan African countries, agriculture is synonym of subsistence farming. In Togo, agriculture provides the mainstay of the economy, employing close to four-fifths of the active population. There is no economic adjustment and people generate just enough income to eat and buy items crucial for their survival. Due to the desertification that mostly occurred during the colonization of Africa, farming has become increasingly difficult for local populations.

The lack of access to running water, electricity (250 millions), and the consumption of biomass (86% of the energy consumed) in Sub-Saharan Africa is alarming. Already suffering from deforestation, the rapid disappearance of forests due to high needs of wood supply is dramatically damaging the conditions of life.

The structure of the family and the community is made in such a way that only the first or second children get to have the farm they grew up in and land to cultivate. The remaining children, often 3 to 6 (Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest fertility rates in the world, with around 5 children per woman) have to leave their communities in search for opportunities to generate incomes. Sometimes, their cultivator skills provide them with jobs in nearby communities but often, they hope for a better future and try to get an education, relocating to other countries.

In the mountainous regions of northern Togo, there is very little industry that is to say almost no other possibility than subsistence farming. In order to empower economically local community members, there is a fundamental need to complement subsistence farming. Introducing cash crop farming that will allow largest leftovers once the families are fed, and therefore the development of trade and the generation of a mean of income is a solution to compensate for the lack of opportunities. Another way to empower communities is to develop the local industry, allowing community members to diversify their activity and build up other ways to generate money.

Sub-Saharan Africa has very rich soils, regular rain seasons, and is nicknamed the sun continent. The need for electricity is huge, and there is plenty of working force available. After realizing some studies on the ground, the Foundation decided to develop tea as a cash crop and introduce solar energy in Northern Togo.

By introducing new agricultural products adapted to the environment, cash crop farming and develop the cottage industry, we can hopefully not only stimulate

Vision

To allow sustainable socioeconomic growth for everyone in subsistence farming areas.

Within the next 12 months, our vision is to evolve the existing method of generating economic growth in selected communities into an environment that:

  • Promotes and nurtures economic development opportunities.
  • Builds and maintains agriculture, complement subsistence farming, improves cash crop farming, and provides educational advancement on agricultural methods.
  • Understands that the preservation of the social, familial and community identity has to start with the concept of economic empowerment at the roots level.
  • Acknowledge that the local cottage industry approach must be a key part of any economic empowerment project to be successful.
  • Values men and women as equal and strives to provide equivalent opportunities for both genders.

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Agriculture

The Noar Foundation for Global Community Development is committed to improve cash crop farming in the northern high lands mountainous regions of Togo by 2012, providing guidance and knowledge to local farmers with the community support in order to improve productivity by 80% and turn subsistence farming into a more export-oriented production.

Learn more about the Tea Project

Agricultural Projects

The advantages of growing tea

  • Tea is easy to grow and it is the best crop that can be planted on hills.
  • The mountainous region of Northern Togo has the perfect acidic soil for growing tea, as well as the perfect climate, with enough rainfall There is facing a rising worldwide demand
  • Tea grows year-round and will allow an improvement in the incomes of the local people, as it will assure them of a steady income throughout the year.
  • Tea employs a lot of people, men can cultivate, process, store and package it while women and children can become pluckers who carefully pick the leaves from every branch on the bush
  • There is no need of shade to grow tea, which suits perfectly the deforested northern regions of Togo
  • Market prices are relatively stable
  • There is less resistance in terms of existing infrastructures (corruption shield) and people can locally develop there own network
  • Tea provides people with knowledge than they can use locally, there is no need for them to leave their community
  • Tea is a green crop. Nothing goes to waste: inferior teas that can't be sold are added to the compost pile to further enrich the soil. Similarly, the clippings from the pruning of the tea bushes often are left where they fall to help the soil retain moisture, prevent soil erosion and control the growth of undesirable weeds. The remaining branches from the heavy pruning are given to the workers for their own heating and food preparation needs

Life story

Henri has three brothers, Koffi, Paul and Edem, and one sister, Sandra. Edem and Henri are the last ones, the twins. His sister is getting married soon with Eli, who owns the farm next to theirs. Henri and his brothers have been helping at the farm since their youngest age. Their dad taught them how to farm, grow, pick and process yams. They're good at it, and the family has enough to eat. Henri's two older brothers are going to have the farm when their father dies; it's been agreed one year ago. Koffi and Paul will make a good job together.

The twins would have loved having the farm, but there is not enough work for all of them. Their initiation is next week, they are going to be introduced in the adult community and will have to leave their village afterwards. Leave to go farm elsewhere, leave and get and education in another country so they will hopefully find a job; they leave to survive. They wish they could have stayed. Be there at their sister's wedding. They wish to live with their parents, stay with their siblings, and Stay In Their Culture.

If it wasn't for the lack of opportunities, they would never have leaved. If the village wasn't surviving on subsistence farming, and had cash crop farming, they would have stayed. Koffi and Paul would have produced, Edem processed and Henri would have sold the production.

Because Henri, and all the Henris in communities relying on subsistence farming deserve a chance to stay with the people they love and in the community they grew up with, we are introducing the culture of tea as a cash crop in northern Togo.

Because introducing tea means job opportunities, community cohesiveness, preservation of family and social identity. Because, it's much more than just growing tea.

Learn More About Tea and Togo

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Solar

Quick outlook

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Solar Projects

The advantages of solar energy

  • Solar is a green, cheap energy; generated where needed. It is environmentally friendly. Compared to fossil fuels, which release greenhouses gases, carcinogens and carbon dioxide, solar cells don't release anything into the air and it doesn't generate any transportation costs.
  • A Solar energy system can operate entirely independent, not requiring a connection to a power or gas grid at all. Systems can therefore be installed in remote locations like villages where there is no electricity at all.
  • Solar cells are long lasting and require very little maintenance, once installed there are no recurring costs
  • Solar energy creates local job and supports wealth creation, fuelling local economies and empowering rural communities.
  • Solar powered lamps are easy to build, other solar powered products as solar panels or solar pumps are easy to install.
  • Solar lamps represent a safer, sustainable solution compared to kerosene lamps.
  • Solar energy brings financial independence, health and security (no more Co2 emission or risk of fire), literacy (extra hours of light at night allow children to read). Solar energy is a renewable resource.

Learn More About Solar and Togo

Economic empowerment projects, goals & action-based behavioral objectives

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The Noar Foundation for global community development

Donations are tax decuctible in the USA. We are registered in the USA as a 501(C)3 Not-For-Profit Organization