About the presenter: Anne-Marie Simon is a professional from France, with special interest in stuttering. She created the French Stuttering Association (APB) and currently fascilitates therapeutic groups, intensive treatment, training speech therapists in French speaking countries especially in Africa in collaberation with the International Stuttering Association. She has worked the the Hospital Trousseau in Paris in the Department of Children's Psycholpathology and has been a researcher in the Laboratoire INSERM of The Laboratoire 'Pathologies du langage. She has 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
About the presenter: Dr. Moussa Dao Dao is a pharmacist in the West African nation of Burkina Faso. He lives in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. He has stuttered since childhood. Four of the eight children born to his mother stutter. In February 2002 he created and is president of Action Against Stuttering (abbreviated in French A.C.B.) the first association of people who stutter in his country and West Africa, and third association throughout all of Africa. He is a member of the International Stuttering Association advisory board and has participated at many meetings, presenting in Burkina Faso, Perth (Australia), Lyon and Toulouse (France), Lome (Togo) and Cavtat (Croatia).

You can post Questions/comments about the following paper to the author before October 22, 2008.

The International Speech Project (ISP) Mission to Togo and Senegal

by Anne-Marie Simon from France and Moussa Dao from Burkina Faso, from

In November 2005, the International Stuttering Association (ISA), a federation of all the associations of people who stutter in the world started the International Speech Project (ISP) during the First Stuttering International Conference in Douala, Cameroon, West Africa. The purpose of the ISP was to send team of professionals and consumers to bring good information about stuttering to places where there were not services for stuttering and little information available.

A first mission took place in Togo, West Africa, in June 2006 and a second took place in Senegal, West Africa, from October 16-20, 2007. The missions were led by Moussa Dao a pharmacist from Burkino Faso, who is a member of ISA, and a stutterer, and Anne-Marie Simon, a therapist from France who specializes in stuttering and is General Secretary of the Association Parole Bêgaiement(APB), a French association for people who stutter (PWS).

This paper will consist of reports about these two ISP missions.


Togo is a small French speaking country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Ghana to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Benin to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Togo has a population of 4 million people. The capital is Lomê which has 676,400 inhabitants. There are currently no self help groups for stuttering in Togo and PWS have little access to information about stuttering.

The ISP objectives in Togo were to provide information about stuttering to health professionals, organize a workshop about stuttering, sensitize the general population about stuttering, launch the self-help concept, and help PWS set up a self-help organization.

Thursday May 25th

Meeting with RBC agents - RBC agents are from villages communities. They were trained in identifying persons with disabilities in their communities. They have knowledge to give first care or to refer the patient to relevant resources. The RBC agent concept was developed and is supported by the Togo government, the Lillian Foundation and Handicap International, a non-profit association which is devoted to help persons with disabilities in the world and is famous for its struggle against anti-tank mines around the world. For some time a French section of Handicap International has sponsored a school for training speech therapists in the fifteen French speaking African countries.

Participants :

There were two sessions: morning from 8:30 to 12:00. and afternoon from 1:30 to 4:00. During the sessions, Anne Marie did a presentation on what stuttering is, what and RBC agent could do to help adults, adolescnets and children who stutter, including what advise they could give to parents of children who stutter. Moussa described is personal experience as PWS and what has been done in Burkina Faso. These presentations were followed by an exchange with RBC agents. The training session concluded with a speech by the representative of Togo's social affairs minister thanking the ISA and Handicap International.

Guest of TV2 TV2 is a national TV station in Togo. It is watched throughout the entire country. Anne Marie was interviewed on the evening news program where she responded to questions on what is stuttering, the purpose of our mission and the different activities that we will do during our stay in Togo.

Friday May 26th

Training of SLP students Anne supervised the activity of two students interested in speech therapy.

Conference : A meeting was set up in conference room of France cultural center of Lomê from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The room could accommodate about 100 persons, but was so crowded that many were obliged to stay outside. There were about 150 participants. The conference started with a presentation by Anne Marie. She talked about what is stuttering, how a adult could manage his stuttering, and how parents can handle with children who stutter. This was followed by a presesntation by Moussa on "Stuttering Awareness: 4 years of Experiences in Burkina Faso." Participants showed a lot of interest and posed 20 questions during the conference. Some participants provided moving testimonies about their personal experience with stuttering. A PWS proposed setting up an stuttering support association in Togo.

Saturday May 27th

Radio broadcast: From 9-10:00 a.m., Anne-Marie, Agnes Gascoin (from Handicap International) and Moussa Dao were guests of a Togo national radio broadcast called "Carte sur Table." During this broadcast, Anne-Marie responded to the questions related to stuttering and its treatment, Moussa responded to questions related to his own experience as PWS and Agnes responded to questions about Handicap International.

Self Help Group and Exchange on creating stuttering association in Togo: 42 PWS attended a meeting from 10:30 to 12:30. Moussa described the experience of self help group in Burkina Faso, talked about what are self help groups, what could be done at self help group meetings, and the advantages of setting up a self help group. Anne-Marie talked about the experience of self help groups in France. From 1:30-4:30 p.m., Anne-Marie and Moussa met with 45 PWS. A small group of PWS currently working on setting up an association in Togo did a presentation about their project. Moussa talked about his experience in creating the association in Burkina Faso. An exchange between Anne-Marie, Moussa and participants provided insight into what such an association could do in Togo. The participants decided to launch a Togo stuttering association. We remain in touch with them and things are going well.

Monday May 29th

Departure of Moussa. Anne Marie continues the mission.

Training of SLP student

TV live broadcast Anne Marie and Agnés

Tuesday May 30th

raining of SLP student Conference with medical doctors - Anne Marie Visit with RBC agents in Gbodjome

Wednesday May 31st

Training of SLP student

Thursday June 1st

Training of SLP student


This pilot ISP mission was successful. The combination of an SLP and a PWS works very well. It is important to give information about stuttering and also to have a person give personal experience of facing stuttering in his personal life and in his country. We continue to receive messages of thanks from people in Togo.

Acknowledgements - We are very grateful to Handicap International which made connections for us with the media, financially supported the TV and Radio broadcasts, covered the cost of the conference room and our transportation from place to place. Thanks also to the chief representative of Handicap International in Togo and to Agnés Gascoin for all of the preparations and making our stay agreeable and profitable. Thanks also to the ISP mission which allowed us to meet PWS in Togo and give them hope.


Senegal, a country in West Africa, has a popultation of over 11 million and is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south. Although French is the official language, several other languages are widely spoken (from Wikipedia).

The ISP Objectives in Senegal were to sensitize the population about stuttering, to train therapists about stuttering in Dakar, to provide information about stuttering to health professionals, to organize conferences, to launch the self help concept, and to help PWS to set up a self-help association.

Sunday, October 14

Recording radio announcement: A Senegalese journalist, Mamadou Khoule contacted the media and we were able to have some radio shows. Anne-Marie met to record an announcement of our mission at Radio Futur Media which was broadcast by noon the same day.

Meeting: A following meeting was with a financier, who stuttered himself and has a son who stutters severely. He is close to retirement plans to actively occupy himself with a stuttering association appears very motivated to realize this association.

Monday, October 15

Meeting with health and education professionals: The meeting which was attended by psychologists, social workers, and a social assistant included a presentation introducing the ISP and ISA. Documents were distributed.

Moussa, who had a very long trip via Abidjan, arrived.

Tuesday, October 16

Morning training: Beginning of training (for adults) by therapists: Julie Vautier, Isabelle Konatê and Brigitte Gagnê.

Afternoon meetings: We met with several stutterers that we contacted through the RFI and that we invited by mail as well as by the steps taken previously with Dr. Ka and Pr Garcia, the heads of service in Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Principal Hospital in Dakar. We had the pleasant surprise of meeting Bamêmê Diallo who told us that he had created in 1989 an association for stutterers, that the first meeting brought together more than 100 people, but afterwards nothing more took place. But because of Mr. Diallo this association (which has statutes and is registered) still exists. He told us that our coming is the opportunity to relaunch this association.

Wednesday, October 17

Morning training: continuation of the training of speech therapy (early intervention).

Afternoon conference: conference of the ENDSS (Ecole nationale du dêveloppement sanitaire et social), focused on sensitizing public to the problem of stuttering. Approximately 25 people were present. All were motivated to participate in the association. We were very happy to have developed these contacts. Professor Gallo Diop, a neurologist, who was a stutterer, encouraged the people who were present to recognize the great need of stutterers and to take action to support them and educate the public about stuttering.

Interview We were interviewed by Olivier Le Normand, a journalist and student at Ecole Centrale in Paris, who reported the information to the newspapers of Dakar.

Thursday October 18 th

Morning: continuation of therapists' training (children)

Afternoon: meeting of families with their children that stutter; individual interviews lasting approximately half hour.

Recording for Radio West Africa, which will be broadcast in English and in French repeatedly on October 22nd (ISAD).

Friday October 19th

Afternoon: conference at Ker Xaleyi, the center of pedio-psychiatry at the Fann Hospital. After a 20 minute presentation, the team of Professor Lamine Fall asked very pertinent questions.The ignorance about stuttering appeared great, but their desire to know also appeared great! Documents were distributed. We showed a sensitivity film "To Speak" by Erik Lamens, a Belgian videographer who stutters.


Launching this mission has been difficult due to the departure of the local speech therapist who had organized the mission and had made numberous contacts for us before she left. Fortunately Julie Vauthier was able to take over and with the help of Handicap International, she was able to set up the training, conferences, and meetings in various locations. Now we must continue to mobilise and motivate all the people who seemed ready to see a self-help association in Senegal come alive. A meeting is planned for November. For the stuttering therapists, Isabelle Konatê plans a regular working meeting.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to those who donated funds for our mission to Senegal. Thanks to Gilbert Hascouët, the director of the program Handicap International (HI) in Senegal, an air conditioned room was made available as well a video projector. Thanks to Ali and Aziz, Julie Mathieu Vauthier, and other friends in Dakar for their help and hospitality. Thanks to the APB for the donation of books to serve as a base for a library for the Senegalese association ASBEG, as well as pamphlets, that could serve as a model for future outreach of the Association. These pamphlets were distributed in the departments of pediatrics and psychiatry. (Pr Lamine Fall, Hospital Fann), at the French Cultural Institute and also the Higher Institute of Professional Health Training of Saint Louis.

You can post Questions/comments about the above paper to the authors before October 22, 2008.

submitted June 23, 2008
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