La Conscience was one of the first NGOs to undergo the equivalency determination (ED) process with NGOsource in 2013 and was featured in our first ever impact story. The NGOsource team was recently lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with Kodjo Djissenou, La Conscience’s executive director and founder, and look back on La Conscience’s amazing work and growth over these five years.
A Quick Refresher - La Conscience
3 out of every 1,000 people across the globe are victims of human trafficking, which is defined as “the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.”[i] Individuals in communities lacking educational and economic opportunity, particularly for women, tend to be most susceptible, as traffickers have learned to exploit the most vulnerable - people looking for a better life for themselves and their families.
The country of Togo is a major trafficking hub for hundreds of thousands of individuals, as victims from surrounding countries are transported into the country for forced labor while Togolese victims are sent outside of Togo for sex or labor trafficking. This is where La Conscience steps in. The Togo-based trafficking prevention and rehabilitation center works in communities throughout West Africa to help youth victims of trafficking through provision of shelter, health care, education, capacity building, and psychosocial services.
As part of this work, La Conscience facilitates a youth prevention center, housing 240 girls and 90 boys at a time. It also provides financial, educational, and vocational support for youth and covers school fees, uniforms, and materials. After providing care at its facilities, La Conscience reunites youth with their families or a community of their choice for a fresh start.
Looking Back on 5 Years of Growth
La Conscience first entered the NGOsource repository when receiving funding from the Greenbaum Foundation. Since then, the Greenbaum Foundation has requested an ED for La Conscience an additional four times. NGOsource has made the ED process easier on both La Conscience and the Greenbaum Foundation by efficiently streamlining it and allowing both organizations to pour more resources into programming.
Kodjo Djissenou, La Conscience’s Executive Director notes that the “determination first created a feeling of satisfaction at the level of the entire team and opened the way for more much commitment and innovation. This has reassured the entire team that there is always hope that new foundations will support our actions.” As part of the repository, La Conscience has instant credibility and more visibility to potential funders - in addition to its incredible body of work.
From its start, La Conscience has focused on community development in its work under the understanding that poverty and ignorance of the risk and threat are the main cause of trafficking. Because of this, La Conscience implements a community development model, providing education and resources for whole communities to fight for the prevention of human trafficking and rehabilitation of victims. Over the past five years, La Conscience has heavily focused on the role of the school in both prevention of trafficking and rehabilitation efforts of child victims. Communities La Conscience has worked with to integrate pre-school and primary education into their action plans have seen the rate of child trafficking completely diminish to zero percent.
La Conscience has now helped over 40,000 children, youth, women, and men in its efforts to end human trafficking. Over 2,000 of those individuals, 93 percent of them being women, have received micro-finance loans that helped them start small businesses and other income generating activities.
La Conscience has made an incredible impact on efforts to eradicate human trafficking in West African over the past 5+ years and will continue to do so. To learn more about La Conscience, please visit its website at http://laconscience.org/.
[i] (2018, February 8). Human Trafficking Facts. Center for Family Services.
Top photo used with permission from La Conscience