Crop Extension Volunteer
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 collaborate with host country counterparts to support rural farming families to increase the availability of diverse and nutritious foods, collaborating to improve nutrition and food security.
PAGES Program Goal: Smallholder farm household achieve food and nutrition security, sustainable livelihood, and increased resilience.
PAGES Program Objectives:
• Share/or exchange best practices with community members on how to promote famers' capacity to improve diversity, productivity, and/or sustainability of smallholder farmer agricultural production
• Collaboratively co-promote the capacity of women of reproductive age (WRA), 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 Agricultural Development Specialist Volunteers are expected to implement under normal operation:
• Collaborate with host country counterparts to train and support public agricultural extension agents in specialized farming techniques and/or household nutrition improvement practices
• Cultivate professional and productive relationships with public agricultural extension agents at the regional and community levels
• Support and collaboratively train NGO partners in specialized farming techniques and/or exchange household nutrition best practices
• Provide technical support/training to Sustainable Agriculture Educator Volunteers
• Support the host communities’ middle school teachers on agriculture teaching curriculum
Note: Due to COVID-19, to ensure the safety and security of all Agriculture Development Specialist Volunteers while working 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 headquarters. See these COVID Specific activities below.
• Conduct one-on-one engagement on COVID-19 mitigation measures
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-sectorial 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 dynamics in their community and will have the opportunity to co-implement culturally appropriate gender-related activities alongside community counterparts, once they are adequately integrated into their community.
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.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Science degree or Associate degree in Agronomy, Horticulture, or other related fields
• At least 3 years full-time farm experience
The strongest candidates will have the following qualifications:
• Knowledge of crop cultivation, small animal husbandry, soil and water conservation and management, agroforestry, post-harvest management, and/or basic farm management
• Demonstrated experience working or volunteering with agricultural businesses or organizations
• Expressed interest in working with women of reproductive age 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
• Experience talking to groups of people about agricultural practices and technologies
• Experience delivering training on agricultural topics
• Experience with small scale field experiments
• 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 collaborating with teachers who are often 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. 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.
Most Volunteers live in two-to-three-room houses within a host family in a family compound. 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. There is far less variety in meals to which many Americans are accustomed to having. 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 & 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 occur.
Volunteers are encouraged to rent their own mail box at their local post office in order to receive mail. Regional capitals & 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 & buy necessary food items.
Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop, which enables them to complete & 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 & a simple cell phone. Many Volunteers decide to bring unlocked dual-SIM smart-phones to keep in contact with fellow Volunteers & friends/family in the States.
Dress, appearance, & cleanliness are of great importance in the West African concept of professionalism. Volunteers are required to dress appropriately, professionally, & 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 & 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 & blouses that cover the shoulders are appropriate.
PC/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 & country-specific laws and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation & gender identity in their communities. Due to safety & security concerns, LGBTQI+ Volunteers are generally advised not to serve openly in this country. We recognize the difficulty that keeping your personal identity regarding sexuality may be a challenge; thus, we are committed as PC 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.
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