North Star’s operations in West Africa are expanding, with four Wellness Centres opening in January this year in Togo, in partnership with the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) and Togo’s Ministère de l’Enseignement de Base et Primaire (Ministry of Basic and Primary Education). The clinics are set up at four villages, namely Agoè-Nyivé, Tsévié, Pya and Dapaong, each located at a local school.

The unique partnership sees a shift in focus from North Star’s usual mobile workers and sex workers to school students and adolescents, especially females. The program aims to improve the access to health services specifically for this target group, offering a basic health service package including reproductive health and HIV.

In addition to the UNFPA and the Ministère de l’Enseignement de Base et Primaire, the Parents and Teachers Association in each village is engaged as a local partner in order to better serve the students health needs.

For the first time, the centres were put together with great help from Containex, where the clinics container-shells were flat packed and delivered onsite ready to assemble. A local team of volunteers was then assembled to piece the clinics together.

Operating in Togo, which has a French system, gives unique challenges to North Star’s model, which continue to be met with a smile. Our Project Managers have been kept busy sourcing French electric plugs, for example, as well as putting their college French to the test in local emails.

The partnership development was possible with thanks to Trafigura Foundation, who fund our work at our pilot clinic in The Gambia, through which we have been able to build significant local relationships in the West Africa region.

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Photography | David Childley, Gideon Mendel