Togo's numerous pressing development challenges have increased in recent years due to political and economic instability. A significant percentage of Togo's rural population lives in extreme poverty. Less than 30 percent of the female population has the opportunity for education or training that can equip them to participate in the development of their communities. AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases continue to increase at an alarming rate, with HIV infection estimated at 6 percent of the adult population. Deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation are worsening as the country's growing population places increased demands on its natural resource base. The Peace Corps works to promote self-sufficiency in the areas of business and micro-enterprise development, environment, health, and education.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Togo
The Peace Corps began its work in Togo in 1962, as part of the second wave of countries where the Peace Corps began service. Since that time, more than 2,000 Volunteers have served in Togo. Peace Corps/Togo has a successful history of collaboration and involvement with the Togolese people at all levels. The Volunteers’ efforts build upon counterpart relationships and emphasize low-cost solutions that make maximum use of local resources, which are usually people. Collaboration with local and international private organizations, as well as international development organizations, is an important component of Volunteer project activities.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Togo
Volunteers in Togo are provided housing as part of the community’s contribution to their work. Most Togo Volunteers live in villages in a two or three-room house, most likely in a compound with a Togolese family. Some Volunteer houses have tin roofs; a few have straw roofs. It is unlikely that you will have running water or electricity although they are more common in larger city posts. Water sources in villages can be traditional wells, bore-holes equipped with pumps, cisterns, and natural water sources—in some cases, rivers. Whatever your source of drinking water, you will have to treat it before use.
Main article: Training in Togo
Training is held in communities that are as similar as possible to the typical site for a given project. During your pre-service training, you will live with a host family. Other trainees from your program will live in the same village, but you will all have your own host family. All of your language, technical, cross-cultural and community development, and personal health and safety sessions will take place either in your host village or a neighboring community. Current Volunteers are available during PST to assist in training and to answer your questions.
Training days are long and demanding, so be prepared. Your day will start at 7:30 a.m. and continue until 5:30 p.m., with a two-hour break for lunch and other short breaks throughout the day. On Saturdays, you will have classes from 7:30 a.m. until noon. Training is an essential part of your Peace Corps service. Our goal is to give you sufficient skills and information to prepare you for living and working in Togo. Pre-service training uses an experiential approach wherever possible. Rather than reading and/or hearing about Volunteer activities, you will be practicing, processing, and evaluating actual or simulated activities.
The 11 weeks of pre-service training are divided into two phases. Phase I runs for the first six weeks and is very intensive in French language and cultural training. Additionally, there are sessions on safety and security, medical/health, and some technical training. This first phase will help you develop basic language and cultural adaptation skills.
Phase II is also very intensive, but it centers on technical training. Language classes will continue, and technical material will increasingly be presented and practiced in French. Some trainees will begin local language classes during this phase, depending on their level of French. Safety and Security training and medical/health training also continue.
During the second or third week of training, your program director will interview you about possible sites to help identify a post that is linked to your skills, interests, and needs. During the seventh or eighth week, you will spend a week at your site. This will be your first contact with your future site and will provide an idea of what real Volunteer life is like, what work options exist, and an opportunity to know more of Togo. It also gives you a break from the intense, structured regime of the pre-service training schedule.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Togo
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Togo maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Volunteers who become seriously ill or injured will be transported to either an appropriate medical facility in the region or to the United States.
The Togo med-unit provides everything that a extremely well-stocked first aid kit would have. For example it provides: anti-histamines, antifungal crème, anti-itch gel and crème, antibacterial gel, aspirin/ibuprofen, pepto-bismol, tums, floss, drandruff shampoo (if needed), sunscreen, malarial meds, coartem (in case you get malaria), bandages, tape, scissors, tweezers, multivitamins, etc.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Togo
In Togo, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.
Outside of Togo’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blonde hair and blue eyes. The people of Togo are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. We will ask you to be supportive of one another, and encourage you to share American diversity with the Togolese.
In order to ease the transition and adapt to life in Togo, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises with who you are as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions will need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limits. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
Sexuality in Togo: Homosexuality is severely disapproved of in Togo. However, conceptions of gender relations are such that acts consider to be indicative of sexual attraction in the United States (holding hands, very close sustained physical contact between males, and the wearing of even girl’s clothing) is found throughout Togo. Oftentimes, clothing styles found in the States find new uses in Togo. Tight girl pants, fishnet tank tops, even two piece swim suits, have found new expressions on Togolese males. For females, the issue is simply not discussed and very little attention is paid to it. Volunteers with any sexuality should not feel endangered or threatened in Togo. Most Togolese do not have a very solid conception of American culture so most behavior outside Togolese culture is attributed to the usual American bizarreness.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Togo
- How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to Togo?
- What is the electric current in Togo?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Togolese friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing list for Togo
All of the items on the packing list are recommended but not required. Almost anything you would truly need is available here in Togo. Everyday items are nearly the same price, or cheaper than the U.S. Electronics or computer related equipment will be 50 percent to 100 percent more expensive here compared to the U.S. You may want to consider bringing some extra cash and lightening your luggage in the process.
- General Clothing
- Men and Women
- General use items
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
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Contributions to the Togo Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Togo. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Togo
- List of resources for Togo
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports
- Peace Corps Journals - Togo
- Togo-L Togo-L is an e-mail discussion list that supports the mission of the Friends of Togo, Inc./Les Amis du Togo. FoT is a non-profit educational and service organization created in 1981 by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and staff who have served in Togo, West Africa. Membership is not restricted to Togo RPCVs and staff. They are joined by family members and friends, by diplomats, aid workers, businesspeople, and missionaries who have served in Togo, by Togolese nationals living outside of their country, and by others who are interested in Togo.