In a ten week period in 2005, over 38,000 people fled the West African nation of Togo after a contested presidential election. The majority of these individuals migrated east into the neighboring country of Benin. 60% of those who came found refuge in the homes of friends or relatives, while the rest were dispersed among camps organized by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. One of these camps, Agamé, was populated primarily by people who had been members of the opposition party in Togo and who wanted to organize the camp as a model of democracy.
Today, the camp at Agamé has been dismantled and many of the former residents have returned to Togo. Others have relocated to neighboring Nigeria or Ghana. Just a few of the original residents remain in Agamé. This semester-long civic engagement project is an effort to tell their stories from their viewpoints. MSU Peace and Justice Students are working with Three Sisters : Trois Soeurs, an ONG in Benin to understand why and how border crossings were vital to the protection of these individuals’ human rights in the contemporary period.