Since the time of our ancestors, Togolese women have been treated as the weaker sex and to an extent marginalised. There has also been high levels of unfair treatment including physical and sexual violence and economic and legal inequality. This type of treatment has lead to stress, divorce, insanity and even death for women. This has caused us a great deal of unhappiness and a feeling of helplessness to change our society.
In the year 2009, two women from the village of Agome Yoh, near Kpalime, Marie Amétépé and Grete Helutse, attended a training workshop in Kpalimé for women para legals on the following themes:
– Gender in social and professional relationships
– Human rights and women’s human rights
– The participation of rural women in decision-making
– Violence against women and victim support
The objective of this workshop was to promote gender equality and empower women. It was organised by WiLDAF / FeDAF. During this workshop many participants, including Marie and Grete pledged to improve the situation in their own communities.
Marie and Grete returned to Agome Yoh and began a campaign against violence against women, supported by WiLDAF / FeDAF Togo.
This led to them creating a group of local women coming together tor to defend their rights and improve their community. This was known as the Women’s Movement of Agome Yoh.
We started with a theatrical sketch group to perform in the villages around Agome Yoh and open up discussions on these very sensitive topics. We made pleas among village leaders and the Village Development Committees to support our work and have created a strong local network which has helped many individual women suffering at home who would otherwise have remained silent.
In 2011we met Nick Bard who raised funds and allowed us to carry out a larger project to reach out into 7 neighbouring villages to campaign against violence against women, train other women and strengthen our networks. At this point the group was renamed WINNER GROUP. The name symbolises our aspiration to be victorious in changing our community and helps create a positive attitude amongst many women who feel downtrodden.