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Togo

TOGO - Centre Ésperance Loyola

Set up by the West African Jesuit Province in 2006, the Centre Ésperance Loyola (CEL – Loyola Hope Centre) is based in Agoè-Nyivé, a suburb of Lomé, and is run by Fr Bernard Hounnougbo SJ.

The CEL, together with its sister centre the Loyola Educational Centre (CCL), works hard to foster an informed and compassionate response to the pandemic in Togo. It does so in word – through education – and in deed – reaching out to those affected.

Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) is an important element of the services offered by the CEL, flanking its other many prevention initiatives. VCT campaigns reached around 8,250 people in 2011 and 2012.

The CEL has a special focus on young people. Thousands of students have benefited from Education for Life (EFL) sessions organised by the CEL in Agoè-Nyivé and beyond. These activities are characterised by attractive presentation and frank discussion. Many youth attend training sessions for peer educators, including summer camps, so that they may in turn reach out to and educate others. There is training in EFL for schoolteachers too.

Other activities aim to strengthen the capacity of organisations involved in the struggle against AIDS, with training for community-based workers, psychosocial and spiritual counsellors and CEL staff. A documentation centre at the CEL offers an information service, books and other material on loan, and on-site access to documents.

Every year, the CEL sponsors the Trophée Vierge (Virgin Trophy). This competition is a shared effort of several organisations that promotes the time-honoured virtue of virginity. The finalists are chosen for their walk, talk, smile, traditional dancing skills and the reaction they draw from the public. In 2012, the prize went to 22-year-old graduate Gloria Kpogo, who is now engaged in raising awareness among her peers about the value of chastity, a task she received training to undertake.

The CEL team cares for people with HIV, adopting a strategy whereby each member follows up a set number of people, making for closer and more personal support. Nearly 500 people attend self-help groups and there are many opportunities to come together for Mass, outings and communal meals.

CEL staff members do counselling, home-care and hospital visits. The CEL pays some of the prescribed medication, tests and medical appointments of beneficiaries while at the same time encouraging self-sufficiency and solidarity. Nutritional support is provided and income-generating activities organised. Rent is subsidised for those in need. Meanwhile, 108 orphans and vulnerable children benefited from educational support in 2011 and 2012.

Set up by the West African Jesuit Province in 2006, the Centre Ésperance Loyola (CEL – Loyola Hope Centre) is based in Agoè-Nyivé, a suburb of Lomé, and is run by Fr Bernard Hounnougbo SJ.

The CEL, together with its sister centre the Loyola Educational Centre (CCL), works hard to foster an informed and compassionate response to the pandemic in Togo. It does so in word – through education – and in deed – reaching out to those affected.

Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) is an important element of the services offered by the CEL, flanking its other many prevention initiatives. VCT campaigns reached around 8,250 people in 2011 and 2012.

The CEL has a special focus on young people. Thousands of students have benefited from Education for Life (EFL) sessions organised by the CEL in Agoè-Nyivé and beyond. These activities are characterised by attractive presentation and frank discussion. Many youth attend training sessions for peer educators, including summer camps, so that they may in turn reach out to and educate others. There is training in EFL for schoolteachers too.

Other activities aim to strengthen the capacity of organisations involved in the struggle against AIDS, with training for community-based workers, psychosocial and spiritual counsellors and CEL staff. A documentation centre at the CEL offers an information service, books and other material on loan, and on-site access to documents.

Every year, the CEL sponsors the Trophée Vierge (Virgin Trophy). This competition is a shared effort of several organisations that promotes the time-honoured virtue of virginity. The finalists are chosen for their walk, talk, smile, traditional dancing skills and the reaction they draw from the public. In 2012, the prize went to 22-year-old graduate Gloria Kpogo, who is now engaged in raising awareness among her peers about the value of chastity, a task she received training to undertake.

The CEL team cares for people with HIV, adopting a strategy whereby each member follows up a set number of people, making for closer and more personal support. Nearly 500 people attend self-help groups and there are many opportunities to come together for Mass, outings and communal meals.

CEL staff members do counselling, home-care and hospital visits. The CEL pays some of the prescribed medication, tests and medical appointments of beneficiaries while at the same time encouraging self-sufficiency and solidarity. Nutritional support is provided and income-generating activities organised. Rent is subsidised for those in need. Meanwhile, 108 orphans and vulnerable children benefited from educational support in 2011 and 2012.