Forestry and Environment Extension Agent

Project Description

Senegal is a beautiful and ecologically diverse country but is experiencing natural and human induced environmental degradation that affects ecosystems vital to local communities. This degradation negatively affects people’s welfare and undermines sustainable management of natural resources for future generations. Senegal’s current land use system contributes to deforestation and a decline in soil fertility and water quality only exacerbated in a context of climate change with rising temperatures and sea levels. With well over a third of the population living below the poverty line, Senegal, like many of its regional neighbors, is affected by high rates of food insecurity, health vulnerability and gender inequality. To address these constraints and ensure better food security, intervention at the grass-roots level is necessary to improve communities’ management of natural resources and the environment. Adults and youth need to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for the preservation of the environment and the intensification and diversification of agricultural production systems.

The goal of the Peace Corps Senegal Agroforestry Project is to help individuals and communities in Senegal sustainably manage their natural resources ensuring food security and a healthy environment.

To this effect, Volunteers will work to:
• Increase youths’ and adults’ capacity to be good environmental stewards.
• Increase the capacity of communities to plant and care for trees in order to increase access to nutritious foods, generate income and restore and protect land.
• Increase the capacity of communities to manage natural resources and the environment in sustainable, healthy and productive ways.

Volunteers will work to meet the objectives above by engaging in the following activities:
• Conducting environmental education with youth and adults both within and outside of school settings
• Promoting and planting multi-purpose tree species that enhance soil fertility, reduce erosion and protect fields against animals (shade/beautification trees, live fence trees, nitrogen-fixing species, etc.)
• Establishing and managing individual/community gardens and fruit tree orchards to produce quality fruits such as mango, various citrus species, papaya, guava, soursop, sweetsop and cashew. These fruits are sold in local markets or consumed by families supporting both improved nutrition and access to revenue
• Engaging in general gardening extension and promoting community engagement in the management of their natural resources and challenges (e.g., fire management, reforestation/forest protection activities, erosion control, water management, animal grazing, solid waste management, beekeeping, etc.)

You don't need to be an agroforestry expert to be a successful Volunteer. While serving, you will act as a facilitator, a catalyst, a liaison and a resource person for farming communities.

As an actor in the development of Senegal, and as part of the wider Peace Corps effort to share our story with our counterparts and host governments as well as to bring that story home to the US, you will monitor and report on your work activities throughout your service through field visits, surveys and stories.

Peace Corps Senegal promotes gender awareness, gender equity and girls’ and women’s empowerment. You will receive training on gender dynamics in Senegal and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency.

Due to COVID-19, there may be some changes to activities and living conditions as stated here. Flexibility and adaptability are important for Volunteer service, especially during these unprecedented times

Climate Change Activities

As the impacts of climate change become ever more evident, the social, economic, and environmental context within which smallholder farmers seek to maintain and improve their livelihood and support their families will continue to change. This will add significantly to the challenges of smallholder farming, particularly for the most disadvantaged communities. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be trained to use a participatory approach and tools to identify locally determined priorities and conditions, including those related to the impacts of climate change. As an Agriculture Volunteer, you will be trained to use this local knowledge in engaging smallholder farmers in a climate-smart approach that:

• promotes the adoption of improved, appropriate, and adaptive agricultural practices and technologies that sustainably increase productivity;
• builds and strengthens household resilience by integrating and diversifying existing and new agriculture-related income-generating opportunities; and
• reduces greenhouse gas emissions attributable to ineffective and carbon intensive farming practices and encourages adoption of agricultural practices and activities that sequester carbon.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

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 agroforestry and/or environment and one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Science in any field OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have a passion for forestry/ environment and the following qualifications and qualities:
• An interest in sharing agroforestry technologies
• A strong desire to work outdoors in challenging weather conditions
• Good interpersonal and leadership skills (e.g., public speaking and partnership building)
• An interest in working with youth as well as adults for environmental awareness and the promotion of gender equity

While it is not necessary to be an agroforestry expert to be a successful Volunteer, Peace Corps Senegal welcomes applicants with experience in the following areas:
• Experience developing tree nurseries, grafting, pruning and planting for food production
• Experience building live fencing windbreaks or firebreaks
• Experience working to improve the soil and teaching water management techniques
• An interest in sharing agroforestry technologies
• Experience/Interest in beekeeping
• Interest in cashew, moringa and mangrove value chains
• An interest in working with youth as well as adults for environmental awareness and the promotion of gender equity
• Environmental education
• French language skills are desirable but not required. Candidates with French language skills, especially strong speaking skills, are encouraged to apply.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

The dominant languages in Senegal are Wolof and Pulaar, but there are many other smaller language groups as well. You will receive intensive training in the most common language of the village where you will be based and you will attain a proficiency level in that language by the time you complete your Pre-Service Training. Most of your work will be carried out in a local language.

Peace Corps Senegal does not train in French, preferring to focus on the primary language that the Volunteer will speak. French language skills are, however, very useful in Senegal, particularly when traveling or when working with people from other parts of the country. You are encouraged to learn as much French as possible prior to arrival in country.

Living Conditions

Most Peace Corps Senegal Volunteers live with families, however some volunteers will live in in independent housing and will be connected with a resource family. Sharing meals and camaraderie with your host/resource family will help you to understand the culture, enjoy the security of family life and learn the language of your community. When living with a host family, Volunteers have a private room/hut and private latrine/toilet within the family living environment. Volunteers with independent housing will have a basic house or apartment with cooking facilities and toilet and bathing area. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, more independent living situations may be utilized in urban and semi-urban areas.
Many Volunteer homes do not have access to running water or electricity. Water is collected at a community pump or well. Cell phone coverage in Senegal is fairly good and you will have a Peace Corps issued cell phone. Internet is becoming more widely available, although it is still not available everywhere. You may be able to access 4G. Internet coverage is more commonly available in larger towns and cities.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring a laptop for project planning, monitoring and reporting. However, keep in mind that the dust, heat and humidity of Senegal are hard on electronics. It can be very useful to have a laptop and a smart phone, but you may not wish to invest in the most expensive model; cheaper used and/or hardier models may be better options.

Senegalese dishes are tasty, usually consisting of a staple of rice, millet, or corn with vegetable sauces and sometimes with fresh or dried fish. Meat is also available but more of a rarity. There is far less variety than many Americans are accustomed to having. Determined vegetarians are able to make arrangements to maintain their diet, but this usually further decreases variety.

Senegal enjoys a good primary road system, but transportation remains a challenge. You will usually travel in crowded, shared taxis and buses over rough roads, particularly outside of urban areas. You will travel by bike or on foot or donkey/horse cart for shorter trips within your community and to nearby towns or villages. In all cases, Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to observe PC Senegal’s transportation policy.

Senegalese pride themselves on being well dressed. A neat and dignified appearance will say a lot about your desire to be accepted as a colleague. During Pre-Service Training, the dress code is business casual. There is a lot of beautiful cloth available in Senegal, and many Volunteers have clothing made by local tailors. If you are a woman, plan to wear clothing that is not overly tight and that covers you to below the knee. If you are a man, long shorts are acceptable for sports, but otherwise are rarely worn.

Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the United States and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues. Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority may experience curiosity and unwanted attention from Senegalese nationals. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQI+ Volunteers are welcomed within the Peace Corps Volunteer and staff community, and many LGBTQI+ Volunteers have served here successfully.

Serving in Senegal

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Senegal: 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

Senegal can accommodate couples serving together but working in different projects. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:

Sustainable Rural Agriculture Extension Agent
Sustainable Rural Agriculture Specialist

Couples will live together during Pre-Service Training as well as the two years of service. They will share a hut or room within a family home or compound, as do single Volunteers.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit:

Medical Considerations

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

Does this sound like the position for you?
Get started on your journey.

Apply Now

What Happens Next?

View Volunteer FAQs
The types of work Volunteers do are ultimately determined by the needs of host countries and the potential of a Volunteer to contribute to these needs and to the Peace Corps’ mission.
Learn about the application process
The most significant accomplishment will be the contribution you make to improve the lives of others. There are also tangible benefits, during and after service of joining in the Peace Corps.
More benefits from service
Our recruiters are here to help you! Whether you have a question about your application, requirements, or anything else, our recruiters have the answer. Chat live with them now!
Find a recruiter