The past two days in Lomé, Togo, were impressive, emotional, hopeful and simply wonderful. The West African state was the second of three stops during the delegation trip of German scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University. Not only was an addendum drawn with the Université de Lomé, it also provided an impressive demonstration of the motivation and achievements of the 15 students from Track 4 “Biofuels and Bioenergy”.

Together we can!
For the German delegation, the visit of the Université de Lomé started on Tuesday (01 November) with impressive presentations of the students of Track 4 of the International Master’s Programme in Energy and Green Hydrogen (IMP-EGH). With the 15 students, there are also 15 nationalities coming together in Togo to learn collaboratively.
Although the first of November is a national holiday and thus accordingly a day off from work, the young people came to the WASCAL building in Lomé to meet the visitors from Germany. And it only took two presentations to completely inspire the visitors.
A total of 60 West African students from the 15 ECOWAS states are studying in the IMP-EGH master’s programme. In six different tracks, they specialize, for example, in economics, photovoltaics or green hydrogen technology. In Togo, the training focuses on biofuels and bioenergy. In addition to their studies, the men and women show a very high level of commitment that goes far beyond the expectations of the partners involved. The young people see the programme and the cooperation with Germany as a huge opportunity that they want to take advantage of. Within the first year of their studies, the 60 students have already independently set up two projects of their own that are intended to influence and improve the lives of the population in their countries of origin.

IMP-EGH not only an opportunity for the individual
The WAGEDO project aims to improve the public’s understanding of the benefits of green hydrogen. The students themselves act as ambassadors in their respective home countries. In addition, the topic of clean cooking is also an important element. When asked why the young Africans chose IMP-EGH, a student from Côte d’Ivoire shared the story of his mother, whose health suffers greatly from pollution. The motivation is to help people, to have a positive impact, to give hope and to improve the quality of life.
The second project is aimed directly at young people in the 15 ECOWAS states. The students of the IMP-EGH explicitly want to increase the awareness of the young population for the importance of their study topic “green energy and green hydrogen”. The youth is the future that has the potential to make a fundamental change. These students want to be the impetus for this change.
Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich and Chairman of the German delegation in West Africa, aptly summarized the students’ impressive commitment: The knowledge that is learned in the seminars and lectures of the master’s programme is not just for the individual. Much more, the young people take the programme as an opportunity to pass this knowledge into society, to make a difference and to help shape the future Africa.

A contract for the future
As they did in Dakar, Senegal, the three institutions – Forschungszentrum Jülich, RWTH Aachen University and Université de Lomé – signed an addendum that will expand the cooperation in the future.
Both the German Embassy in Togo and the Minister of Education, who is also the President of the University, took time to welcome the visitors from Germany, engage in exchanges and make plans for the future. The interest in the IMP-EGH and the continuation of the cooperation is great. By passing on their knowledge to the youth in West Africa, the professors from Germany, among whom there are also many internationals, are opening up the opportunity for change.
During a visit to the port of Lomé, cooperation opportunities in the field of hydrogen in shipping and other topics were also explored. The port of Lomé is the only deep-sea port in the region and supplies goods to numerous countries that do not have their own access to the sea. The size of the area was impressive and ears on both sides were open to potential transformation.

Do you mind? – African beats meet German hips
Some of the meetings in Lomé were very emotional. Especially the presentations of the students were very touching and moved one or the other eye to tears. But beyond that, the visit to Togo was also a celebration, which was evident not least in the rhythmic movements of German hips as African beats encouraged people to dance. The mood was very exuberant, but also celebratory. The visit left a lasting impression on everyone and made it clear once again how great the opportunity is that the International Master’s Programme opens up for the countries in West Africa and, above all, for the people.

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International cooperation as a carrier of hope:

Road trip in African style:

About Sabine Clemens

Sabine Clemens ist Pressereferentin für den Fachbereich Nationale und Internationale Beziehungen in der Unternehmensentwicklung. Daher schreibt sie in diesem Blog über die verschiedensten Themen der Internationalität. --- Sabine Clemens is press officer for National and International Relations in the department of Corporate Development. She therefore writes about a wide variety of topics relating to internationality in this blog.

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