At our March pow wow William Vu gave a presentation about his two years in a small village situated in the arid and dusty north of Togo as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
William Vu has returned back to the U.S. and offered us a glimpse of life in this little known country.
He shared some of projects that he and his Peace Corps colleagues initiated, and provided insights into the pitfalls and successes that accompanied their implementation. Below you can find a brief description and pictures of two of those projects.
His presentation demonstrated the best solutions come from the bottom-up and there is more to development than throwing aid money at the poor. More importantly, he stressed that development succeeds when individuals realize they are agents in their self-determination.
Moringa Plantation: Through fundraising contributions from family and friends, a Moringa tree nursery and plantation with a women’s association in the village of Nassiegou was constructed to help alleviate the malnutrition that is prevalent in the northern Savannah region. Moringa is a “miracle” tree in that it is indigenous to West Africa, does not require much water, and whose leaves are extremely high in nutritional value.
Business Skills Workshop and Summer Vacation Enterprise Project for Female Students: With a grant from Friends of Togo, a 4-week business skills workshop and 10-week summer program for female students at the high school in the village of Nano was initiated, with the objective of helping them pay their school fees. Scholarships were offered to 15 girls who presented the most compelling and innovative business proposals. With profits from their enterprises, all girls were able to pay for their school fees.