History of the Peace Corps in Togo

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History of the Peace Corps
Since 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries, more than 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 138 countries all over the globe.

See also:

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.

History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Togo

Peace Corps/Togo averages 55 trainees per year and fields an average of 110 Volunteers. Volunteers work in all five regions of the country in four programs: natural resource management; community health and AIDS prevention; small business development; and girls’ education and empowerment.

Heavy demographic pressure is straining Togo’s agricultural systems and the ability of the land to regenerate itself.

Traditional farming practices cannot meet the needs of the increasing population, nor do these practices address the problem of soil degradation. Togo’s forests are being depleted, while demand for wood products is increasing. Crop residues, a precious organic fertilizer for tropical soils, are no longer left on the land, but are used as alternative fuels. Volunteers in the natural resource management program work to address these issues and attempt to reverse the trends in the areas of decreasing farm yields, environmental degradation, poor soil fertility, and decreasing forest resources.

In 1995, the safe motherhood and child survival project evolved into the community health and AIDS prevention project. Volunteers in this project assist local-level health personnel and regional offices to promote community health activities. The project’s most important components are child growth monitoring and nutrition education, family planning education, education for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)/ AIDS prevention, and improved dispensary management.

Since 1991, small business development Volunteers have worked with credit unions, women’s informal savings groups, and youth and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to offer business training and consulting to members who wish to improve their business skills. Workshops covering such topics as accounting, finance, marketing, and feasibility studies are offered to groups of tailors, retailers, merchants, market women, and other entrepreneurs. The goal of this project is to improve basic business and entrepreneurial skills, thereby fostering opportunities for growth and job creation in Togo’s small business sector.

Beginning in 1999, Peace Corps/Togo began implementation of the girls’ education and empowerment program. Volunteers work with local schools and institutions, particularly in rural areas, to promote literacy and education among girls. Emphasis is given to encouraging girls to attend and stay in school and to make good choices about their future.

In addition to the four major program areas mentioned above, Volunteers are involved in a variety of secondary activities.

Two activities that many Volunteers participate in are youth summer camps and AIDS Rides. AIDS Ride is a week-long HIV/ AIDS education/training program. During AIDS Ride Week, teams of Volunteers in each of the five regions of Togo ride their bikes to isolated villages and deliver HIV/AIDS training sessions to adults and students. In 2005, 55 Volunteers (five teams of eleven) delivered 73 presentations in 51 villages to over 21,000 people.

Each summer, Volunteers from all programs participate in three weeks of youth camps (one week each for girls, boys and young women who have left school early). These camps include formal classes in life skills such as health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS and gender equity, as well as sports and other games.

Assignment History

Sector Assignment Beg. Yr End. Yr
Agriculture Ag Economics 1986 1994
Ag Education 1978 1991
Ag Extension 1980 2007
Animal Husband 1980 2005
Animal Husband Lg 1980 1987
Crop Extension 1962 2002
Business Accounting 1994 1994
Business Advising 1976 2007
Business Development 1998 2008
Computer Science 2005 2007
Cooperatives 1976 1998
NGO Advising 2000 2007
Urban and Regional Planning 2002 2004
Crisis Corps Crisis Corps 2000 2006
Education English Teacher 1966 2007
English Teacher Trainer 1987 1989
Fisheries Fresh 1980 1992
Gen. Construction 1978 1989
Industrial Arts 1975 1978
Prim-Ed/Teach Trn 1982 2002
Science Teacher Trainer 1991 1991
Secondary-Ed Math 1979 1987
Secondary-Ed Sci. 1969 2007
Univ. English Teaching 1980 1987
Environment Comm Forestry Ext 1990 1998
Environmental Ed. 1998 2008
Forestry 1981 2004
Protected Areas Management 2003 2005
Health Envir. and Water Resource 1973 1984
Health Degreed 1985 2007
Health Extension 1962 2007
Home Econ/Ext. 1986 1986
Hygiene Ed/Sanitation 1984 2002
Master's International Masters Internationalist 1987 1992
Other Flexible App 1971 1975
Unique Skill 1978 1995
UNV United Nations Volunteer 1972 1991
Youth and Community Development Appropriate Tech. 1981 1995
Commun. Serv/Deg. 1988 2007
Mechanics 1981 1985
Road Const/Engin. 1986 1986
Rural Youth Dev. 1985 1986