ADETOP was once founded to restore 1450 hectares of forests that was cleared as revenge (read more about this below), now it is so much more;
- Educate (mostly young) people to become conscious citizens looking at the environment, society, and health;
- Restoration and protection of the environment;
- Solidary ecotourism, that also finances the growth of the foundation.
Annually their activities reach around 7.000 people directly and indirectly around 45.000 people.
One extra result is that this region is one of the few where human-made forest fires rarely exist. A very nice achievement! Sustainability and the environment are something the locals are well aware of. Maybe also because climate change already has a big impact here.
Local impact of climate change
In Togo it is hotter than ever, there are floods in the dry season and there is less rain in raining season. Overall, the amount of rain that falls in Togo is a lot less compared to a few years ago. The result is that the water sources are drying up and there is a real water problem in the villages. In addition, there are more forest fires and the north of Togo is slowly becoming a desert landscape. People, therefore, sometimes move from the north to the south. Also, locals from Mali and Niger are moving into Togo, as their cattle don’t have enough food otherwise. This can result in problems for the people already living there, such as farmers. There is less food left for their cattle and to build a new home, trees are chopped.
The government has a plan, to protect the forest and change agriculture. In 2050 it is their goal that 30% of the country will be forest. “There is enough money as well as plans. However, visible actions up until now are small”, says Francois Satro.
The impact of climate change is also visible at the site of ADETOP:
- There is a lot less water available in the well
- The kitchen garden is a lot less green and fruitful. A lot of compost is needed to keep the plants alive.
How ADETOP responses
ADETOP’s mission is to assure the community’s well-being through environmental education, preservation, and the promotion of natural resources. They do this with 9 employees, and 100 members. Members share ideas and support sometimes financially.
To protect the forest for the future, ADETOP educates the local people in several ways. They give multiple forms of support including training farmers in organic agriculture, financial and technical support to groups of women, environmental education in schools, spreading awareness, efforts of reforestation, and school support.
They learn people how to cultivate responsibly so that they optimize their harvest and don’t need to chop trees. They learn how to make and built all needed products with materials out of the region. And, they offer their location for free for group gatherings, vaccinations, and more.
Those different actions are partially funded by revenues from ecotourism activities. For this, they built 5 eco-lodges on their site, made of solely materials out of the region. They offer guided tours, hikes, waterfall visits, solidary stays, and circuits across the country to tourists.
How it all started
It all started in 1996, as there were political conflicts in the region of Togo. Due to the drought and civil commotions of that time, the suffering population exploited and cleared the local forest, named Missahoé Classified Forest, as revenge. As 1450 hectares of forest were exploited, this had a big impact on biodiversity.
The NGO was founded To protect and restore the classified forest of Missahoé Classified Forest. Secondly, the members started working with schools on educational projects in nearby villages. And later, eco-tourism was added. This way visitors could enjoy nature, be inspired, and with the revenue, the project could grow even further. Today, 27 years later, the organization is nationally and internationally connected and belongs to a number of environmental protection associations. The local people are now learning to maintain the forests themselves.
With each village, ADETOP has established a community development plan for all future development actions, forest management, and restoration.
In addition, they plan to build an educational and leisure center for children instead of the space they use to do the animation and the support courses for the children.
Do you like what this initiative is doing, and would you like to help?
They are always looking for volunteers, interns, and financial support. People from all over the world join them for a period from 1 month up to 2 years to help.
The knowledge that is of high value to them:
- Taking the educational program to the next level
- Forest restorations – forest engineer
- Volunteer teachers and animators for children
As they just finished installing solar panels in the village for schools, the market, and the hospital, doing the same for their own location is the next step. As well as solar electrification and the construction of boreholes with panels in other villages. For this, they are looking for help as well.
ADETOP is based in Kpalimé in the Uplands region at the North-West of Lomé.
Phone: (+228) 90 08 88 54