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close this bookThe Secret of Happiness - Togo (UNESCO-DANIDA - UNESCO, 2000, 20 p.)
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Yentcare Leah


Literacy and Non-formal Education Section
Division of Basic Education

Adapted from a booklet prepared at a national workshop organized by UNESCO

Written by Yentcare Leah

Revised by the
Literacy and Non-formal Education Section,
Division of Basic Education, UNESCO

Translated from the original French text by Elaine Taylor

Edited by Cynthia Joerger

Graphic design and layout by
Charupan Jayanandana


This material may be reproduced in total or in part with appropriate acknowledgements to the authors and publishers.

Other titles in this series

· From Tears to Cheers (Zambia) Women's financial self-reliance

· Yaba's Dream (Cote d'Ivoire) Exploitation of young girls employed as maids

· The Witch or the Sickman (Mali) Superstitions about goiters and their prevention

· Me, You And AIDS (Kenya) HIV/AIDS and its prevention

· Give Girls A Break (Gambia) Child marriage

· From Blindness to Cash (Malawi) Vegetable gardening business

· Stop This Violence (Kenya) Domestic violence and alcoholism

· The Challenge of Youth (Senegal) Sexual behaviour among young people

· Parents Should Go to School (Benin) Literacy and basic education for adults

· The Secret of Happiness (Togo) Birth spacing

· Tade, the Good Example (Cote d'Ivoire) The importance of girls' education

· No More Worms (Niger) Filtered water for healthy living

· Women's Rights to Education (South Africa) Literacy for women

· And the Women Had A Break (Kenya) Water carrying and sharing housework

· The Little House (Burkina Faso) Promoting the use of latrines

For free copies, contact: Namtip Aksornkool
Literacy and Non-formal Education Section, Division of Basic Education
UNESCO, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75007 Paris, France
Fax: (33-1) 45-68-56-26 or (33-1) 45-68-56-27


Political leaders and development specialists around the world have recognised that illiteracy - particularly among women - seriously undermines their education and development efforts. Many believe there is a need to make literacy programmes more relevant, so that woman will remain in the programmes long enough to benefit fully from the skills and information they offer.

This post-literacy booklet is one of a growing series of learning materials produced under UNESCO-DANIDA's Special Project for Women and Girls in Africa. The series presents a sample of the products of the regional and national workshops which UNESCO organised between 1997 and 2000 in Africa.

During these two-week workshops, African women and men involved in literacy work were introduced to the concept of gender sensitivity and the idea of addressing gender equity issues through basic education. Before the workshops began, they selected their target communities and carried out needs assessments. By analysing these assessments at the workshops, each group established a list of the priority issues to be addressed in the booklets. Each writer worked on his or her chosen topic with the support and advice of peers, the workshop facilitators and other resource persons. Local illustrators then illustrated the texts with simple line drawings.

The Literacy and Non-formal Education Section of the Division of Basic Education at UNESCO edited the text and prepared the design-layout for the final product which will be distributed worldwide.

Though the booklets are intended for use with neo-literate women and out-of-school girls, the messages in these stories, and the radio programme scripts that accompany them, are also relevant for use as supplementary reading materials in formal schools for readers of both sexes.

The subjects of the booklets, based on the needs assessments, reflect a wide range of needs and conditions of women in Africa- from Senegal to Kenya, from Mali to South Africa, from Niger to Malawi. Over the course of this project, a list of common concerns has emerged. These include: HIV-AIDS, domestic violence, the exploitation of girls employed as domestic servants, the lack of positive role models for women and girls, the economic potential of women through small business development, the negative consequences of child marriage, and the need for a more equal division of labour between men and women in the home.

Each booklet depicts one way of treating a subject of high priority to African women. In the process, the authors have attempted to render the material gender-sensitive. They have tried to present African women and girls and their families in an African context, and portray the issues and problems from their perspective.

We hope these booklets will inspire readers, as they did their authors, to reflect on some of the life situations, problems and issues that ordinary women and men face every day. The questions that accompany the booklets will help readers ask questions and find answers to issues that effect them in everyday life. The ways in which characters in these booklets cope with specific situations, rising above their trials and tribulations, could serve as lessons for women and men living together in 21st Century Africa.

FeigbawKondo's wife, is expecting their ninth child. Kondo is a night watchman and his wife looks after the house and children...



Kondo's children are expelled from school because he has not paid the school fees or the cost of their books.


Kpatcha is a carpenter. Abdhis wife, sells cloth in the market. They have three children. The eldest is thirteen, the second is ten and the youngest is six.


Because they work hard and have a small family, Kpatcha and Abdre well-off.

Abds still fresh and young-looking. Their children are well nourished and clean.


Kpatcha and his wife get along well. They discuss things together before making decisions.


Kpatcha accompanies his children to school.

One day, Kpatcha comes home early from work. He is in for a big surprise...


Kpatcha is a good and generous man.


Kpatcha gives them something to eat and decides to take them home so that he can meet their parents.

But when they arrive, they find Feigbawying on the floor.


She has fainted.


She has had nothing to eat since the day before.


Abdnd Kpatcha talk about the reasons for their happiness.


Kpatcha and Abdre admired by the whole village.


1. Why are Feigbaw children always hungry and sick?

2. When parents are poor and uneducated, what happens to their children?

3. Compare Feigbawnd Kondo to Kpatcha and Abd

4. What are the advantages of having a small family?

5. What do married people need to do to control the number of children they have?

6. Who is responsible, husband or wife, for controlling family size?

7. What happens to a woman who has too many children too close together?

8. In your village, is there a place where married people can get information about how to control the number of children they have?

Back Cover

Written by Africans for Africans, this booklet is part of a growing series of booklets prepared during workshops in which participants learn to produce gender-sensitive educational materials. The workshops are the cornerstone of the DANIDA-UNESCO Special Project for Education of Girls And Women in Africa.

The project has been hailed as a great success by organizers and participants alike. It is an effort to respond to urgent issues and problems facing African women and men today. These booklets reflect the language, images, customs, social norms, attitudes and beliefs of real people, whether nomads or villagers, in Africa. They are meant to be used to help readers raise important issues and find equitable solutions to their most pressing needs.