Agriculture Extension Volunteer

Project Description

Peace Corps Togo created the Promoting Agriculture Education for Sustainability (PAGES) project in response to the Ministry of Agriculture, by sending Sustainable Agriculture Educators to support rural farming families in increasing the availability of diverse and nutritious foods, collaboratively working towards improving nutrition and food security.

PAGES Program Goal: Smallholder farm household achieve food and nutrition security, sustainable livelihood, and increased resilience.

PAGES Program Objectives:
• Increase famer’s capacity to improve diversity, productivity, and/or sustainability of smallholder farmer agricultural production.
• Increase the capacity of women and/or key household decision makers to increase dietary diversity of households.

Based on the above two listed objectives, the following are PAGES core Logical Project Framework (LPF) activities which all Sustainable Agriculture Educators Volunteers are expected to implement under normal operation:
• Conduct one-on-one field-based instruction for farmers on improved technologies and management practices of crop cultivation, small animal husbandry, soil and water conservation, agroforestry production, post-harvest management, and basic farm management
• Co-train farmers’ groups on improved technologies and management practices
• Co-facilitate farmer-to-farmer demonstrations to instruct peer farmers on improved technologies and management practices
• Co-teach agriculture to students at the middle school level
• Guide learning of individual farmers to reinforce efficacious use of practices and technologies
• Conduct one-on-one field based instruction of women and/or key household decision-makers on nutrition

Note: Due to COVID-19, to ensure the safety and security of all Sustainable Agriculture Educator Volunteers while working in communities, the above activities have been revised to align with COVID-19 mitigation measures. All Volunteers must adhere to COVID-19 policies prescribe by Post and Peace Corps

Peace Corps Togo is proud of the strong monitoring, reporting, and evaluation culture it has developed in recent years, which enables Volunteers, their communities, and our partners to measure the impact of Peace Corps interventions and inform the decisions that influence the direction of future work. Volunteers are expected to report, both within their sector and across all three Peace Corps Togo sectors, on these efforts and their impact.

Gender awareness and empowerment is a cross-sectoral activity for all Peace Corps Togo Volunteers, who look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms. Volunteers will receive training on gender challenges in their community and will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually and culturally appropriate once they are adequately integrated into their community.
Climate change awareness and negative impacts mitigation is also becoming a new cross-sectoral activity for Peace Corps Togo Volunteers.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in agriculture and one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

The strongest candidates will have the following qualifications:
• Demonstrated experience working or volunteering with agricultural businesses or organizations
• Knowledge of crop cultivation, small animal husbandry, soil and water conservation and management, agroforestry, post-harvest management, and/or basic farm management
• Expressed interest in working with women and/or key household decision makers to increase dietary diversity and consummation of nutrient-rich foods
• Expressed interest in teaching agriculture to middle school students
• Facilitation and/or public speaking skills

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position. A. Completed 4 years of high school coursework within the past 8 years in a Romance language B. Completed a minimum of 2 semesters of college level coursework within the past 6 years in a Romance language C. Native/Fluent Romance language speaker Candidates should have either a willingness to take a French course or commitment to self‐study and a subsequent placement test (score of 50 on the French College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

The professional and official language of Togo is French. PAGES Volunteers will be working and collaborating with teachers who most times, are stationed in communities where they do not speak the local dialect/language. As professionals, French is the expected language of communication and interaction. Teachers in rural communities are usually amongst the most educated thus place a high emphasis on proper French grammar and usage. To integrate and garner the respect of colleagues within the educational system, Volunteers are requested to have a foundation in basic French when they arrive in country.

Togo has dedicated Language and Cross Culture Facilitators to teach French and local languages during Pre-Service Training (PST). Volunteers are expected to learn French and achieve an intermediate-high level by the conclusion of PST. An intermediate-high proficiency in French must be attained before learning a local language. If a Volunteer commences PST with the required French proficiency at the intermediate-high level, local language learning will begin immediately.

Learning basic greetings in the local language(s) spoken in your community is essential for successful integration. Having an interest in a deeper study of local language, which most often will occur at site in the form of self-study, is a way for Volunteers to work more directly with community members when not teaching at the local school, particularly women who may not have finished school and therefore do not speak French. Peace Corps Togo identifies a language tutor at each Volunteer site. All identified language tutors receive training during PST prior to site visit. In addition, Peace Corps Togo employs a full-time Language Coordinator who monitors Volunteer progress in French and local language throughout the Volunteer’s service. Peace Corps Togo expects that Volunteers in every sector will take advantage of all language acquisition opportunities in order to achieve an advanced-low level of French as well as a novice-mid level of local language by the end of the first year of service.

Living Conditions

Most Volunteers live in two-to-three-room houses within a family compound with a host family. Living within a shared compound affords Volunteers a valuable opportunity to truly observe and be a part of the culture, enjoy the benefits and security of communal living, and learn the language of their host community. Many Volunteers do not have electricity in their homes. Access to cooking gas is usually consistent, but there may be times when it is necessary to cook on a charcoal stove. Water sources in communities could be traditional wells, a pump, and/or cisterns. Volunteers will be given a water filter and training on how to properly treat drinking water.

Diet will consist of locally grown foods or a combination of local and (usually imported) preserved foods. A typical Togolese meal is corn ‘pâte’ (paste), with a spicy/hot sauce. Meat is available throughout Togo, as is dried fish, but fresh fish is only available in larger towns. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal, limiting the diversity of a vegetarian diet at times of the year. However, tofu (soy) is available throughout the country.

Distance between communities and regional capitals vary, but can be as far as 60 kilometers. Some Volunteers bike the shorter distances. Volunteers will be provided funds to purchase a bicycle to facilitate work and enable them to have greater access to nearby communities. Per Peace Corps COVID-19 transportation policy, Volunteers are prohibited to ride as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle taxi or use local public transportation (bush taxi). The COVID-19 transportation policy will remain in effect until further notice. Volunteers will be notified when changes to the policy occurs.

Volunteers are encouraged to rent their own mail box at their local post office in order to receive mail. Regional capitals and some larger towns in Togo have internet connections (often very slow and/or unreliable). Peace Corps Togo currently maintains one workstation with internet connection for Volunteers in each region. Volunteers will have access to internet at least once a month when they travel to their regional capital to do banking and buy necessary food items.

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop, which enables them to complete and save required assignments off-line. For those who arrive without a laptop, Peace Corps will provide funds sufficient to purchase a simple tablet device, a SIM card and a simple cell phone. Many Volunteers decide to bring unlocked dual-SIM smart-phones to keep in contact with fellow Volunteers and friends/family in the States.

Dress, appearance, and cleanliness are of great importance in the West African concept of professionalism. Volunteers are required to dress appropriately, professionally, and respectfully once posted to their assigned communities as well as during Pre-Service Training (PST). Dressing in an inappropriate manner can diminish the respect community members have for Volunteers and can make their work more challenging. For classrooms and meetings, closed-toed shoes, trousers, short and long sleeve collared shirts are appropriate for men. For women, closed-toed shoes, skirts that cover the top of the knees when seated, and dresses and blouses that cover the shoulders are appropriate.

Peace Corps Togo provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers. Togo has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities. Due to safety and security concerns, LGBTQI+ Volunteers are generally advised not to serve openly in this country. We recognize difficulty that keeping your personal identity regarding sexuality may be a challenge; thus, we are committed as Peace Corps staff to support LGBTQI+ Volunteers amidst these challenges.

Serving in Togo

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Togo: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Togo welcomes couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions in Togo:

- English Teacher
- Community Health Educator

Couples from differing sectors will live at different Pre-Service Training sites and with different home stay families. They can be together on weekends after training activities. Couples will be responsible for their own transportation between sites, which will not exceed 30 km.

Once in service at a permanent site, couples will live in the same accommodation.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.


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