Exchange Program Alumni Help Togolese Women Overcome Obstacles

IVLP and YALI alumni for the panel on How to help young girls succeed at school.

As part of its celebration of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Embassy in Togo on March 22 kicked off a new initiative aimed at helping Togolese women of all ages overcome obstacles in their personal and professional lives. The initiative, titled “How Women Rise,” includes a series of conferences in multiple cities spotlighting a cross-section of successful female alumni of U.S. exchange programs, who will talk about how to overcome challenges at every stage of a women’s life. The first conference was held in Lome on March 22nd, followed by another conference in Kpalime on March 23. Approximately 500 people attended the two conferences, with the audience mainly coming from women’s associations, business groups, and high school and university students. The conferences featured panels devoted to the importance of supporting education for girls; the difficulties of starting a business in a male-dominated economy; the challenge of balancing women’s personal and professional life; and how to enlist men as allies in the fight for equality. For all these topics, exchange program alumni offered the girls and women in the audience concrete, specific advice about how to overcome challenges and achieve success in their academic, professional, and personal lives.   Additional conferences are planned over the next three weeks in several cities in the interior of the country. The “How Women Rise” initiative is part of the Embassy’s efforts to increase the participation of women in the economic, political, and social affairs of the country, in order to create greater prosperity and stability.