Education Volunteers in Togo make a positive difference in the lives of their middle school students. Peace Corps’ Targeting English Education for Change (TEECh) project was developed in collaboration with Togo’s Ministry of Education to reduce a significant shortage of qualified English teachers. Volunteers work to strengthen their students’ English skills through innovative, participatory teaching methods in the classroom and through English conversation clubs and other extracurricular activities outside the classroom. They also support their Togolese counterparts to improve their teaching skills through coaching, peer observation and feedback.
On average, girls in Togo achieve less well academically than their male counterparts, and drop out more often in middle and high school. TEECh Volunteers work to improve girls’ academic outcomes by incorporating gender equitable practices into schools and through efforts to reduce institutional gender-based violence. Volunteers facilitate dialogue with school communities including administrators and parents on positive masculinity, organize boys' clubs to encourage boys to help with household chores, and coach girls on life skills and menstrual hygiene management.
Cross-sector initiative: Gender equity and women’s empowerment
Volunteers receive training on gender-equity challenges in their communities and implement activities like “gender race”, training on flexible gender roles, and female role model shadowing by female students. PCVs also train on Student Friendly Schools to foster change among their communities.
As climate change affects West Africa, and with disruptions in supply chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic, food security is a real and growing concern for many Togolese families and communities. Peace Corps Togo created the Promoting Agriculture Education for Sustainability (PAGES) project to support the Ministry of Agriculture’s priority goal-- to ensure sufficient, safe and nutritious food for all. Volunteers with PAGES work with local counterparts to provide training and technical assistance to smallholder farmers and community gardeners to adopt sustainable, climate smart agricultural techniques. PAGES Volunteers work hand-in-hand with farmers to introduce and co-train a variety of on-farm activities such as soil and water conservation, inter-cropping techniques, and small animal husbandry.
To encourage sustainable farming practices well into the future, PAGES Volunteers also work in middle schools. Students learn and practice sustainable techniques that they share with their families now and continue implementing for years to come. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers work with students and fellow teachers to establish school gardens, practice agroforestry, and to institute composting and other green technologies.
PCV and counterpart working at the local clinic.
In Togo, expectant mothers and young children run high risk of mortality and illness. The majority of maternal and child deaths are preventable, however. In rural communities, accessibility to health facilities, resources and information is often challenging. Working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Health, and in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Peace Corps developed its Community Health Education and System Strengthening (CHESS) project. Volunteers with CHESS live and work in rural communities, supporting health system strengthening efforts with local health care workers. Some health systems strengthening activities that Volunteers implement with these work partners include: improved monitoring and evaluation efforts, project planning, and improved documentation.
In addition to this important work with health care providers, Volunteers and their counterparts organize pre-natal consultations, infant growth monitoring activities, and behavior change communication to promote the uptake of healthy behaviors such as vaccination, the use of insecticide treated bed nets and appropriate care seeking. Through these efforts, Volunteers contribute to real and lasting improvements in the health of the communities they serve.
Cross-sector initiative: COVID-19 mitigation
Following training, Volunteers will work with community counterparts to support and encourage vaccination, promote COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing and masking, and educate community members on care seeking.