In the 1950s, The Benin Company starch factory (Feculerie de Ganavé) opened in Ganavé, Togo. In 1968, they grew to become the 6th largest employer in all of Togo and the Feculurie de Ganavé was also one of the leading starch suppliers for American and European markets.
Today, the inhabitants of Ganavé are mostly subsistence farmers. Due to the overexploitation of cassava for starch production, the soil is completely degraded and has become unproductive and this has led to extreme poverty.
These circumstances make education in Ganavé even more complex and difficult. It wasn’t until 1970 that the first primary school was opened and 1997 for the middle school. Up until then middle school students used to go by foot to other villages, sometimes travelling up to 9 miles just to attend classes.
Recently in 2018, the middle school was converted into a complex by the Togolese government with both middle and high school in one room. Currently the government does not provide any direct support to the school and it is up to the local population and students’ parents to come up with their own funds.
These conditions make it very difficult for the schools to operate properly. In 2019, high school students were not able to start their classes until BSBIZTOGO, Inc, a former Peace Corps volunteer and friends of Ganavé native Dr. Brad Hounkpati, stepped in to help. Through their support and contributions, both middle and high schools are now operating, but students outnumber the spaces available and we are again presented with a challenge. We need a new building.
When launching “je rembourse mon école” or “Build it yourself”, Dr. Brad Hounkpati and his representatives discovered that the school borrowed classroom desks from other schools for the 2020-2021 school year. In May 2021, Dr. Brad Hounkpati offered new classroom desks to Lycee Ganave so that they can return the loaned ones. During the official reception of that donation, it was reported that up to 500 hundred students will attend in the 2021-2022 school year, but there is not nearly enough classrooms or desks for all these students.
Despite these difficult conditions, Ganavé’s middle and high school students are some of the best in the national exams. For example, the student with the highest score at the 2020 baccalaureat I in Anfoin (Ganavé’s schooling district) is Lycee de Ganave. The students of Ganavé are eager and hardworking, but lack the means to realize their dreams.
The school needs urgent assistance to build a new building with at least three classrooms equipped with desks. The total estimate of this project is $25,000. This will build a basic structure that can be upgraded as funds come available.
As initiators, BSBIZTOGO, Dr. Brad Hounkpati and former Peace Corps volunteer David Johnston, pledge to contribute up to 20% of the initial budget. The school and students’ parents have also agreed to contribute, but we still need more funds to launch this project.
Normally $48,000 for standard one, but we are proposing a basic that be upgraded as funds come available.
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Project updates 02/24/2022
Three classrooms were built. Currently painting.
It will be delivered to the high school in March 2022.
Project updates – March 15, 2022
The building construction was completed and inaugurated on March 15, 2022 in Ganave.
The event was streamed online, donors, friends and family participated.
Below is the video. A complete video is being edited.