The MANN+HUMMEL Foundation has been supporting gatherings for young people in several of Ludwigsburg’s twin towns since 1991. As part of the City of Ludwigsburg’s municipal climate partnership with Kongoussi in Burkina Faso, funding is being channelled into vocational training for the young people in this West African city. Kongoussi, the city which Ludwigsburg has been supporting since 2007 as part of the municipal climate partnership, lies in the Sahel zone in the north of Burkina Faso. The city is made up of 57 hamlets and villages, which together have a population of around 70,000 inhabitants. The funds from Ludwigsburg have made it possible to build a primary school, a training centre for pump and bicycle mechanics and the ‘ZicZac’ tailor’s workroom.

The training centre provides professional training for bicycle and pump mechanics, but has also been training tailors since 2013. The tailor’s workroom was founded as a private initiative by Anke Wiest, Head of the Ludwigsburg ‘Frau und Beruf’ professional advice centre for women, who used her 2013 annual leave to host and train the ten first students of the workroom, before handing over the reins to a trainer. She has since continued in a mentoring role and looks after these students from her Ludwigsburg base, via the trainer. The tailor’s workroom received funding from the MANN+HUMMEL Foundation in 2013 and 2014.

Trainees at the ZicZac tailor’s workroom

The first pump and bicycle mechanics have already completed their training at the school and have gone on to start up their own businesses. They are now expected to help maintain and repair the water pumps found across the region.

Traditional water pump in Burkina Faso

The mechanics trained at the centre can also earn a living by repairing bicycles, mopeds and motorbikes, which are the most common means of transport there. As it can be assumed that the market will soon be saturated with pump and bicycle mechanics, the training centre is in the process of integrating new modules, such as solar technician training. In Kongoussi, a city in which only three out of seven sectors have mains power and whose surrounding 50 villages cannot expect to be connected to the mains anytime soon, the production of electricity via solar energy is becoming increasingly significant. With this in mind, in 2015 the Kongoussi training centre received a grant to integrate its new ‘Solar technician training’ module.

Students at the Kongoussi training centre during a visit from a delegation from Ludwigsburg, which included First Mayor Konrad Seigfried and Christine Süß (centre), in January 2015