Togo: Literacy through the Bible


Bible Society is working in Togo to help non-literate people – predominately women – in poor rural areas of Togo to learn to read and write, using the Scriptures, teaching in four indigenous languages.

Togo, officially the Togolese Republic, is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. Togo is a tiny slip of land (a width of less than 115 km from east to west), with a population of approximately 8 million. Thirty-nine distinct languages are spoken in Togo, although its official language is French. The two most widely spoken indigenous languages — Ewe and Kabiye — are ‘national languages’ and are used in formal education and in the media. These two languages, along with Ikposso, Bassar and Lama, are the literacy focus of this project.

Two fifths of Togo’s population are non-literate. However, there is a region and gender divide which sharply accentuates that figure. Illiteracy and poverty go hand-in-hand. The Savanes (Savannah) in the north is the poorest region with a poverty rate of 90.8%. Illiteracy in that region is close to 70%. Another region, Central, has a poverty rate of 80.2%, with illiteracy at 42.2%.

Poverty also leads to early drop-outs from state-funded education. The most dominant age category of out-of-school children is between 12-15 years. In Togo, girls also leave school earlier than boys, and most women are beginner learners in their mother tongue.


  • Illiteracy in Togo affects approximately 43.3% of people aged 15-44
  • Illiteracy in Togo affects more women (52.1%) than men (26%)
  • The urban population is more literate (74.0%) than the rural population (47.4%)

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