Togo Pop Stars Headline National Campaign To End Open Defecation

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The “Je m’engage” campaign reaches over two million people

Connecting the Dots is a new report from WSSCC that highlights the work of its national coordinators who advance the WASH agenda in 16 countries. Over the coming weeks we will feature some of their achievements.  

WSSCC’s national coordinator for Togo,  Achille Lokossou and his team have launched the ‘Je m’engage’ or ‘I engage’ campaign as a call to action for every citizen to join the movement for an Open Defecation Free Togo.

This is part of the “Mouvement Togo Sans Defecation à l’Air Libre” (TogoSanDAL) launched by the government in 2015.

“Je m’engage” aims to raise awareness on the negative consequences of open defecation and to trigger different groups of citizens to engage by taking specific action. The targeted groups include journalists, students, decision makers at national and local levels, religious authorities, the private sector, sport celebrities, musicians, artists and the wider public.

The campaign was launched in December 2016, in Atakpame, the fifth largest city in Togo, with a roadshow and concert starring local artists that was attended by over 6,000 people.

The campaign song, “Je m’engage”, brought together eight famous Togolese singers to showcase the health impacts of open defection, especially on children.

The media is both a key target and partner; over 20 journalists participated in the ‘Walk of Shame’, seeing open defecation areas first-hand, and pointing fingers at those who may be responsible. This is part of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach, where communities come together and are ‘triggered,’ or jointly agree to end the practice open defecation.

As a result of engaging the press, radio and television spots in French and  local languages were developed, raising awareness of the public and reaching about two million Togolese -  or almost one third of the population.

The media campaign was complimented by a roadshow of theatre plays in 40 large cities. The same messages were reinforced and reached more than 120,000 people.

This year, "Je m'engage" continues to engage different stakeholders, with the aim of creating a true national sanitation movement in Togo.