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Children in Togo: Planting trees to protect their community

Children in Togo: Planting trees to protect their community

Over the past 20 years, about 90 per cent of natural disasters recorded worldwide have been climate related. Climate change is leading to more severe weather events such as flooding and droughts and is having implications and causing extensive damage to the world’s poorest communities

However, here in a community in Togo, school children are tackling climate change with their own hands. 

Yaovi waters plants in his school
Yaovi waters plants in his school

Two years ago, the roof of our school was torn apart by the wind.

Says Yaovi, 11, from Togo. 

“Our classes took place in a makeshift classroom, formed of wooden posts and a roof made of palm tree leaves. This went on for several months until the roof was fixed. As there were not enough classrooms, we were seated six per desk instead of two. It was very uncomfortable and it was hard to learn. When it rained, we did not have school because there was water in the palm tree leaves." 

It is important to plant trees to protect the school against violent winds.

Research shows that when communities are more resilient it reduces how vulnerable they are if and when disaster strikes. In Togo, we are supporting communities to scale up their resilience to climate disasters through the safe school project.

In 2016, we helped over 70 schools create green spaces that served as windbreaks. The project is empowering children to protect themselves, take care of plants and become agents of change in their community. It is also helping to change behaviour and educate communities on the risks of climate change.

Girls in Togo hold up signs reading act for the planet
Girls in Togo hold up signs reading 'Act for the planet'

It is our role to plant trees because the world needs it.

Says Alice, 12, from Togo. 

“I am very proud to plant trees and take care of them so they will grow. Since we have been trained at school, I have planted a mango tree at home. I have also told my parents about the importance of growing trees.” 

"We have a beautiful school that has just been built, but we have no shade and it gets very hot when the sun rises. Through the trees we plant, our school is prettier and better protected with trees that will also give us shade."

These are also the trees that bring rain, so the crops will be good in the village.

Deforestation is also a concern for communities in Togo. Forests are stripped to make room for charcoal making. We have trained communities on risk management and have included reforestation into their development plans.  

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