Togo, with the population of 6.6 million people, is one of the smallest African countries. Its population is predominantly young and the country is mainly rural. 60% of the active population lives on agriculture.
Since its independence, the country has never experienced a truly democratic system, at least not at the local level. Togo is a centralized state and all the decisions are taken by the government in the capital.
Farmers have always been at the mercy of authorities and they depend on the government’s decisions. Therefore, they are disadvantaged because of the lack of infrastructure and basic services for the population (drinkable water, education, health).
Since 2012, the government strives to put in place a process of decentralization of governance in order to favor development at the local level.
In this context, GeTM and its local partner ETD (Enterprises, territories and development) are putting in place a vast program to favor the process of decentralization in the region of plateaus. This program concerns more than 325’000 people.
This is a pioneer experience as far as the participative democracy is concerned. The first step was to inform and raise awareness among the population about the principles of the civic rights, local governance and participation. People’s Assemblies (of villages or districts) elected representatives at municipal and cantonal levels. The CCDs (Cantonal and Communal Development committees) were thus created. In the context of these new authorities, civil society and local public authorities are able to collaborate and to plan new investments and infrastructure.
Since 2011, diverse activities have been conducted successfully: construction of wells, purchasing of school materials, trainings “territory approach” for delegates etc..
Further to the elaboration of the territory development plans, more than 40 local initiatives were suggested and put in place. 95% of the funds provided for these different projects came from the decentralization program financed by GeTM. The remaining 5% are to be provided by the population for it to feel concerned by the projects.
In order to make this experience last, the CDD put in place a system of recovery of costs. Local taxes are levied on moto-taxies and on spaces in the market.