Togo, a small West African coastal country, shares borders with Burkina Faso to the north, Benin to the east and Ghana to the west. Made up of just over 22,000 square miles, Togo is one of Africa’s smallest countries, with a population of an estimated 7.6 million people.
Togo is a primarily French speaking country and former French colony – gaining independence from France in 1960. Togo’s religion consists primarily of indigenous beliefs, with Christianity and Islam being the minority religions. A coastal nation, Togo has a great climate for agriculture that provides productive growing seasons; however, this thriving climate doesn’t make up for the developmental obstacles Togo faces, ranking low on the Human Development Index as No. 127 out of 151 countries.
This kind of love and dedication is transforming lives through the power of Jesus and the freedom of safe water.
The Water Crisis in Togo
According to Unicef, 33% of the Togolese population don’t have access to clean water and a quarter of the population don’t have access to drinking water within 30 minutes walking distance of their homes. Along with lack of safe water access, seven people out of 10 don’t have access to adequate toilet facilities.
The Water Solution in Togo
Water4 began work in Togo in 2010 by connecting with Matt Hangen, now Managing Director of Water4. Matt and his wife, Grace, had been living in Togo as missionaries for four years when they reached out to Water4 for manual drilling training. Soon after, Water4 established L’Eau Pour le Togo (LPT), meaning Water for Togo. In 2012, the Hangen’s moved to Oklahoma to work with Water4 headquarters, and transferred management of LPT to the current Managing Director, Nestor Abalo, a third generation blacksmith, and a perfect fit for the role.
LPT now consists of three drilling micro-enterprises, a two-member geological survey team, two Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) mobilizers and five manufacturing employees. Since inception, LPT has drilled over 380 wells throughout Togo.
“L’eau pour le Togo is driven by a relentless hammer wielding dreamer named Nestor who refuses to believe in the status quo,” said Matt Hangen. “Having drilled over 380 wells since inception, these courageous men and women are changing lives and making dreams come true every day.”
LPT has seen transformative change in their work as the Gospel is introduced into the lives of the people they serve. LPT partners with local churches and church planting institutions to provide water in targeted communities as a means of introduction and outreach.
Located in Northern Togo, the Oikos School of Church Planting has been a major partner of LPT, both facilitating the training of members of the LPT drilling enterprises, and working to see churches planted in unreached communities. Two of the micro-enterprise leaders, Awe and Tchozo, now lead discipleship activities in their own communities.
The entire LPT team has played a vital role in community and team discipleship and have worked with additional volunteers to reach even more people. Mama Essowe is an LPT volunteer who leads women’s groups and community churches in WasH and discipleship trainings. Her connection with women in communities has reached families in ways that might not have been reached otherwise, making her a key disciple-maker with the LPT team.
The entire LPT drill team has recently been trained in disciple making in an effort to further deepen the spiritual growth of communities where they work.
The LPT team is pouring themselves into the communities where they work and live. This kind of love and dedication is transforming lives through the power of Jesus and the freedom of safe water. Water4 is honored to be part of the impact LPT is having in Togolese communities and looks forward to even more growth in the future.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, UNICEF / Category: Countries