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Togo: The Red Cross at school

03-12-1998 News Release 98/48

One month ago two Togolese primary schools started teaching the basic principles of the Red Cross, international humanitarian law and first aid to pupils between the ages of 7 and 13. The schools of Atti-Touwi and Tovégan, situated 70 kilometres north-west of the capital, Lomé, are part of a pilot project launched by the Togolese Red Cross and the ICRC under the auspices of the Ministry of Education.

The purpose of the project is to integrate these new subjects into the existing primary school curriculum. After attending an academic workshop that lasted several days, teachers from both schools adapted booklets provided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to meet their particular needs.

" It is essential for children to familiarize themselves with the principles of tolerance and solidarity from a very young age " , said René Parkoo, headmaster of the school in Atti-Touwi. As a first step, basic Red Cross concepts and rules of international humanitarian law are being taught in civics and ethics courses, where children learn, for example, that vulnerable people are entitled to assistance. First-aid activities in case of floods or drought will be covered in geography lessons.

The Togolese Red Cross has drawn on experience gained in Tunisia, Senegal and Conakry, Guinea, where similar programmes have been conducted. It plans to extend the project to other primary schools in the country.