Source: www.africanakua.com | Richard Fiebor, Ghana.
Two alumni of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Cohort 13 programme are making plans to establish an agricultural training centre in the largest rice producing village in Togo to support women and girls in agriculture. This they said would help propel the female farmers towards financial independence.
Mr. William Dogbey, one of the duo, speaking to www.africanakua.com on Saturday May 4, said “although we are males, we do not want to hold back in the promotion of women…while discussing with the women and girls, we realized that there are several challenges to be met in our rural areas with regards to the advancement of women.” He added that “according to the careful analysis of the problems that the women have mentioned, poverty is at the centre.”
Kovie rice-village is about 25 kilometres North-West of Lome, the capital of Togo. With a population of about 13,000 and hundreds of hectares of rice fields, Kovie is the chief producer of good quality local rice in Togo. However, Kovie is plagued with a lot challenges. For example the production of rice is mostly traditional with low productivity. Kovie is bedeviled with lack of basic infrastructure, amenities, youth unemployment and increased poverty, which is the cause of criminal activities in the village including pick pocketing, stealing and armed robbery.
Majority of the men, young and old, desperately leave the village to seek greener pastures in the bigger towns, like Lome, Kara and Kpalime. They ride motorcycles (zemidjan), transporting people from place to place, just to earn a living. The women and girls are left behind and they resort to petty trading and rice farming.
Mr. William Dogbey and Mr. Hassan Mintoiba have therefore resolved to take the initiative to establish an agricultural training centre at Kovie to equip the women in agriculture with the required skills and support they need to alleviate poverty in the community. Mr. Hassan said they are already in partnership with Forum Des Jeunes Entrepreneurs Agricoles (FOJEA), an agricultural firm, and the University of Lome’s School of Agriculture.
These two institutions would provide practical training to the farmers in business development and on modern farming methods so that they would increase productivity and learn how to successfully commercialize their produce for the local and international markets through exportation.
Meanwhile the Chief of Kovie rice-village has agreed to offer the partners a plot of land to start their training programme which starts on June 21, 2019. Agricultural experts from abroad and YALI Network, Togo, are going to facilitate the programme. Mr. William Dogbey is a young Togolese entrepreneur who founded DWIL, a digital marketing company; He is also a founding member of Yali Network’s ARACOD (African Rural Advocacy for Community Development), a non-profit organization whose branch he heads in Togo. The student of law, William Dogbey, is very passionate about poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
Being one of the 116 participants chosen across nine West African countries to receive modern leadership training at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) programme at the Accra Regional Leadership Centre, GIMPA, he took courses on the Business and Entrepreneurship Track and wishes to bring his expertise to bare in becoming a prominent lawyer and a business mogul who would fight for the course of the socially disadvantaged.
Mr. Hassan Mintoiba is also a Togolese student of law, Human Rights and Dignity Activist and a member of Amnesty international. He is actively involved in the Savannah Youth Revealed for Inclusive Sustainable Development (SY4DS) and that motivated him to be on the Civic Leadership Track at YALI and join ARACOD to enable him fight for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).