The Peace Corps began operations in Togo in August 1962, experiencing over 50 years of uninterrupted activity and more than 2,600 volunteers serving in various programs throughout the country. Peace Corps Togo currently has 94 volunteers serving in three program areas: Community Health and Malaria Prevention, Environmental Action/Food Security, and English and Gender Education.
Peace Corps Volunteers: Selection, Training and Service
Peace Corps Volunteers are U.S. selected from various age groups, backgrounds and experiences. They are sent to countries according to their skills and aptitudes and the development needs of these countries. Once they arrive in the host country, they participate in a ten-week language, technical, and cultural adjustment training program. At the end of this training, they swear in and agree to serve this country for two years. Peace Corps is responsible for Volunteer training and health care and provides modest living allowance. The host country community shares responsibility for Volunteer housing, safety and security.
Ongoing Projects Community Health and AIDS Prevention (CHAP)
The objective of the CHAP program, initiated in June 1995, is to assist Ministry of Health and other partners to develop and expand community health activities in rural areas and to support these groups in their efforts to fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the other sexually transmitted infections in Togo.
Together with their partners, CHAP Volunteers train, assist and supervise community health agents, peripheral health care unit (USP) agents, teachers, peer educators, and village committees on health and development, especially in information-education-communication activities that are designed to promote healthy behavior change. Priority health programs in which Volunteers intervene are 1) national programs to fight against malaria, diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS and the eradication of the Guinea worm, 2) monitoring and promotion of growth, vaccination, and family planning, and 3) health education of the youth population.
The management and technical orientation of these activities are under the responsibility of the Community Health Division of the Ministry of Health. Volunteers closely collaborate with the peripheral health care units, prefectoral and regional health departments (DPS, DRS), and with several associations and NGOs working in their domain of activities, such as the Association Togolaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial – ATBEF (Togolese Association for Family Well-being), Togo Red Cross, and Associations of People Living with the HIV/AIDS.
Environmental Action and Food Secutity (EAFS)
The Enviromental Action and Food Security (EAFS) program responds to the lack of awareness of the potential negative impact of certain agricultural practices on the environment and knowledge of sustainable agro forestry techniques that can provide for better management of natural resources.
Volunteers on this program work with individual farmers, farm cooperatives, and students. In the schools, they provide theoretical training and conduct practical sessions of environmental education with students of the primary and secondary levels. With farmers, they study ways to introduce and promote new activities and develop income generating agricultural products to provide food security for the family.
This program closely collaborates in the field with the agricultural advisors of ICAT – Institut de Conseil et d’Appui Technique) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fishing.
English & Gender Education (EGE)
The EGE project combines Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and gender equity techniques in order to increase the number of girls who enroll and complete secondary education. The approach is based on time-proven principles of Peace Corps’ grassroots development philosophy. Throughout all Peace Corps’ endeavors, particularly in the last decade, there has been an emphasis on gender and development. In the education sector, Volunteers are effective because they believe that education leads to empowerment, which enables development.
As their primary task, EGE Volunteers will teach English and work closely with their Togolese counterparts to increase the instructional capacity of Togolese English teachers and also work to incorporate gender equitable practices in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.
Peace Corps in Togo: History, projects and a sample of achievements to date
The Peace Corps of the United States of America entered Togo in August 1962 after the establishment of a cooperation convention between the Togolese and American governments.
The raison d’être of Peace Corps in Togo is to collaborate with the Togolese government and the Togolese people in order to provide appropriate technical assistance according to the development needs of the country.
After more than 40 years of uninterrupted activities, over 2,400 Volunteers have served in various domains including:
- National Education: Over 800 Peace Corps Volunteers trained 12,000 Togolese teachers and pedagogical counselors, constructed 600 three- classroom school buildings and taught hundreds of thousands of pupils and students of the junior and senior high schools;
- Community health: Over 250 Volunteer doctors, nurses, and health care educators have worked with over 2000 Togolese health agents. These Volunteers and their counterparts have improved the quality of drinking water through the construction of wells and pumps, joined in the campaign to eradicate Guinea worm, provided education and training in fight against HIV/AIDS and built and/or equipped 200 health centers.
- Rural development: Over 200 Volunteers trained and organized thousands of farmers in techniques designed to improve the quality of the soil and protect the environment.
Secondary Projects of Peace Corps/Togo
In addition to these major projects, the Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate with their communities in the design, implementation and evaluation of various community development projects and activities.
Support to small community development projects In their role as community development agents, Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate with host communities on small participative development projects. They also assist these communities in mobilizing local resources and in searching for funding. Projects and activities often sought by the communities are those related to the improvement of the drinking water supply, the construction and equipment of health and education structures; the production, conservation, and processing of agricultural products, and the protection of the environment.
Gender and Development
This program aims at increasing awareness about the importance of gender in the development process. It promotes projects and activities designed at educating and mobilizing women and girls to ensure their full participation in the development of Togo. Volunteers organize fund raising activities to support girls’ scholarships and other projects to improve the condition of Togolese girls and women.