Focus 2022

Togo - 14-06-2022

Salesian vocational training offers a promising future for young people in Lomé

Being able to access specialized vocational training studies and workshops in Lomé, the capital of Togo - as in many African cities - all too often makes the difference between having well-trained youth prepared for the world of work, or having young apprentices who perhaps, though willing, are left with insufficient training and, all too often, are then exploited in the workplace. It is for this reason that the Salesians in Togo are committed to quality vocational training that provides opportunities for young people, especially those in the most vulnerable situations, helping to improve the training of students based on their skills so that they can access better working conditions upon completion of their studies.

The Salesians founded the "Mary Help of Christians" apprenticeship center in Lomé already more than 30 years ago, in 1989, to offer vocational training to the area’s young people.

Since then, thousands of young people have passed through the classrooms and workshops of that center, receiving technical and mechanical training. Over the years, the center has gradually expanded and improved its educational offerings, and now includes several fields: Electricity (with various levels of vocational qualifications), Electrical Installations, Metal Construction, and Computer Maintenance; it also has a Carpentry production workshop.

Recently, the Salesian development NGO "Bosco Global," with financial support from the Municipality of Malaga, Spain, collaborated on a project to support teacher training and equipment renovation at the "Mary Help of Christians" Technical and Vocational Training Center in Lomé.

"This project is an opportunity to improve the work we do here at the center," explained Antoine Koudokpo, Head of the Salesian workshop in Lomé. "Indeed, I would say that this opportunity is not only in the interest of the students but also of the teachers, because it facilitates teaching and improves the performance of the students' work because what we do not have the opportunity to teach in theory, we have the opportunity to do in practice."

In the first months of the project's development, equipment was purchased to renew the practical training of the modules on Electricity, as the existing equipment was outdated and students were performing practical activities with equipment no longer in common use in the labor market.

Then, once the equipment was purchased and properly installed, the teaching staff was trained to be able to teach with this new equipment properly.

Finally, it is also worth noting the value of the days organized to raise awareness of occupational health issues and health in general, which helped renew, therefore, not only tools and human resources but also the center's working culture. Special emphasis was placed both on precautions to be taken to avoid viral diseases, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, on protocols to reduce the risks of Covid-19 infection.