Tiyeda Abalah

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2011
Centre International Développement Agropastoral (CIDAP)


This profile was prepared when Tiyeda Abalah was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
After diligently working to demonstrate a process of how previously marginal lands can be reclaimed and reincorporated into productive farming areas, Tiyeda was able to attain the government buy-in that resulted in the widespread adoption of her model in Togo. Curricula of agricultural schools, as well as that of the national university in Togo, now teach students how to become successful small-scale farmers based on the principles of organic and sustainable cultivation on lands that have been previously considered “unusable” for a host of reasons, including drought.

With a critical mass of graduates returning to farming communities in Togo, and with interest from neighboring countries to establish similar schools, Tiyeda is focusing on uniting young people in a regional network through which they can play an active role in spreading this message to the furthest reaches of the Sahel. Everywhere struggling farmers and former farmers find themselves unable to make a living as previously fertile lands lay dormant; this network will demonstrate and teach others that bio-farming is indeed the tool for reviving discarded lands. More importantly, they will work together to continue incorporating more nuanced ideas that may already be floating around the Sahel. With these ideas, a cohort can influence their respective governments and the general population to embrace their vision of a new, rejuvenated, and sustainable small-scale commercial farming industry that raises the standard of living for those currently on the edge of poverty.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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