Togo school system

Students in the village of Atome, Togo look forward to receiving their new school as a gift from the people of the U.S. in late 2014. Representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Lome, contractor, CNaF-SET and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District visited the school project site to check on contruction progress April 30, 2014. The project is being executed through the Department of Defense's AFRICOM humanitarian assistance program to improve future prospects for Togolese youth. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Jennifer Aldridge)

Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, U.S. Embassy Lome met with the contractor, CNAF-SET Construction, to inspect the progress of the Gblainvie School project April 28, 2014 in Gblainvie, Togo. The village chief and local community members visited the construction site and praised the work being completed. The USACE managed, U.S. Africa Command funded, project will include six indoor classrooms, two open-air classrooms, three offices, a veranda, a rain water collection system, and a latrine building. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Jennifer Aldridge)

Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, U.S. Embassy Lome met with the contractor, CNAF-SET Construction, to inspect the progress of the Gblainvie School project April 28, 2014 in Gblainvie, Togo. The village chief and local community members visited the construction site and praised the work being completed. The USACE managed, U.S. Africa Command funded, project will include six indoor classrooms, two open-air classrooms, three offices, a veranda, a rain water collection system, and a latrine building. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Jennifer Aldridge)

LOME, Togo - How can children learn in schools where rain enters the classrooms and wind tosses notebooks to the floor?

They can’t, not properly.

In Togo, the elements present constant challenges to educating students, not only during the rainy season, but also in the dry season when educators worry about brush fires. Togolese schools are rudimentary facilities. The traditional classroom structure — a set of wooden posts supporting a thatched roof — is open on all sides. This setup does not shield students from wind or weather during the rainy season. In the dry season, thatched roofs are in jeopardy of catching on fire.

In these basic and often overcrowded schools, student attendance is weather-dependent. The lack of adequate school facilities can hinder learning and deter from the quality of Togolese education.

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