West Africa

Togo Mali

DVV International has been active in West Africa since the 1980s. The activities in Mali (since 2008) and in Togo (since 2020) are coordinated from its regional office in Bamako, Mali. After 20 years of cooperation with its partners in Guinea, DVV International had completed its work there by the end of 2019.

In West Africa, the majority of the currently economically active and potentially productive population consists of young adults who are not being reached by the very weak formal basic education and vocational training system, or who leave it after only a few years of schooling. The illiteracy rate among adults, and especially among women, is correspondingly high. In addition, resource poverty, a great inequality in the distribution of wealth and income, and violent conflicts (especially in the Sahel region) hinder the economic development of the country and cause an extreme lack of jobs and prospects and repeatedly set back the region’s development.

Against this background, non-formal and needs-based educational opportunities at the local level are often the only way to provide young people and adults with access to learning opportunities and thus to active social and economic participation. Therefore, DVV International and its partners focus on the development and strengthening of such approaches. This is realised in communities in cooperation with traditional village authorities, local governments, decentralised state services, local organisations of the private sector (especially crafts and small businesses) and associations of producers, mostly in agriculture (cooperatives, farmers’ associations, etc.):

  • Learning circles in the villages, based on the REFLECT method, combine remedial basic education and functional literacy with the teaching of everyday skills (nutrition, health, family planning) and civic skills (conflict management, participation). The programme also promotes the teaching of basic business management skills, technical knowledge and skills for income-generating measures and long-term business start-ups.
  • Education centres at the community level are strengthened, enabling trained instructors to design and implement courses according to the community’s needs. The focus of DVV International’s work is on strengthening the community’s ability to professionally manage the education centres on a permanent basis and to mobilise funds for their ongoing operation. The centres should also be places for encounters, civic dialogue and social and cultural exchange.
  • A further focus of DVV International’s work in West Africa is the improvement of the political and legal framework for adult education. A system building approach developed by DVV International forms the basis for this. Another important field of work is networking. DVV International supports, for example, the West African adult education network PAMOJA, which lobbies for lifelong learning in 14 countries in West Africa.

In 2020, DVV International began its work in Togo, initially focusing on a survey and analysis of the current adult education system in the country. For this purpose – following the system building approach – an assessment was made with the involvement of important state and civil society actors. Against this background, concrete measures for the work of DVV International to strengthen adult and non-formal education in Togo were defined and coordinated with the Togolese stakeholders.

Contact in the region

DVV International
Regional Office West Africa
Badalabougou-Est (à côté de l'ancienne Ambassade du Nigéria)
BP: E 409

Regional Director West Africa:
Martin Westphal

Contact in Germany

Senior Desk Officer West Africa:
Dr. Johann Heilmann

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