Volunteering in Togo
Volunteering in Togo combines French lessons with voluntary work. It is a unique way to discover the country, its culture and people, while doing a meaningful job.
Volunteering in Togo
Volunteering in Togo combines French lessons with voluntary work. It is a unique way to discover the country, its culture and people, while doing a meaningful job. You must be at least 18 years old, independent and outgoing, have some knowledge of French and have a genuine desire to volunteer.
Most projects are located in Atakpamé. It’s the fifth largest city in Togo by population with 85,000 inhabitants and lies in the Plateau Region of Togo. The City is a commercial centre and is situated on the main north-south highway, 160 km north of the capital Lomé. Few projects are also available in the cities of Sokodé and Kara, further north of Atakpamé.
Accommodation and Food
Most projects are in or around the city of Atakpamé, where our local coordinator is located. In most cases you will be accommodated with his Togolese family. You will probably have to share a bedroom with another volunteers and share bathroom/showers and toilets (Togolese style mainly). Orphanage projects are residential projects, i. e. you have your room in the project. Normally, you will also get your own room here but in some cases you are supposed to share a room with another volunteer.
3 local meals a day, 7 days a week during the entire stay are included in the fee.
The official language in Togo is French and only very few people in Togo speak English. Volunteers with little or no knowledge of French language can follow 10 hrs French lessons per week. The language course takes place during the afternoons, after volunteering. If you’re interested in local languages (e.g. Ewe) instead, ask the coordinator about this.
The Projects in Togo
In the project descriptions below you can learn about the different volunteer possibilities in Tanzania. Hopefully you can find the right project to fullfill your aims and skills!
The working hours depends on the work place but gernerally they are somewhere between 20 and 35 hours a week.
Most of the projects mentioned here accept internships. Send an e-mail to [email protected] explaining your wishes and the requirements of your school counselor and we will find a suitable place for you.
Dates and lenght of stay
The volunteering programme in Togo starts every Monday, all year round. Your expected arrival day at Lomé Airport is Sunday. You are supposed to arrive between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM. If you arrive at the airport later than 7:00 PM you will be picked up from the airport and stay at a hostel in Lomé for the night, before you continue your trip to Atakpamé the next morning. Costs for an extra night in Lomé are not included in programme fees (approx 30 Euro). Our partner organization will make all arrangements for you.
From July to August it is possible to participate in 3 summer projects. You will be volunteering 5 days per week 15-20 hours per day. Afternoons are spent on cultural activities. Accommodation is in a house with other volunteers. Expect only Togolese facilities i.e. toilet without flush, no hot water and no washing machines. 3 meals a day are cooked together with the leader. You can choose to participate in one of the following 3 projects.
1. From July 8th to the 22th.:
The project seeks to re-establish the environment in and around the town of Okama, approximately 18 km from Atakpamé, where deforestation destroys nature. One or two hectares need to be planted with trees in order to recover biodiversity, which is crucial for human and animal life in the local ecosystem. The second purpose is to increase local community’s environmental awareness. National and international volunteers are working together on the project. The reforestation area lies along the road to the town of Otadi, approximately 12 km from Atakpamé, on mountain slopes in the Akposso area. About 200 people, cultivating maize, cassava, coffee, cocoa and tomatoes live in this area. They have been used to burn forest in order to gain more agricultural land. Volunteers work under the leadership of a camp leader. You are expected to be able to adapt to a life in a small village, love nature and enjoy being outdoors.
2. From July 23rd to August 12th.:
Construction of a playground
Atakpamé, approximately 100 km from Kpalime, is an old town located between the Akposso Mountains and Mono lowlands, surrounded by 7 mountains with wonderful views. The program’s purpose is to create opportunities for recreational activities for pre-school children in Atakpamé. National and international volunteers will build a roller coaster, a swing and a sandbox at the kindergarten. Volunteers will work under the leadership of the contact person. You are expected to be able to adapt, and have creative ideas for leisure activities for children.
3. From August 6th to 31st.:
Summer school in Atakpamé
Volunteers teach school boys and girls (6-16 years) in mathematics, English, French and physics, in a relaxed atmosphere. The international and intercultural exchange creates solidarity and will give the children hope for the future. Volunteers will receive help from a contact person and some teachers. Classes have 15 to 25 students. You will teach together with another volunteer or with a local teacher. Basic French skills are required.
In case there isn’t enough participants to organize project 2 and 3, you can work on the first project.
Fees and conditions are the same as for a 3 weeks stay during the rest of the year: 956 Euro.
If you have time, you can end your stay with one week vacation to visit tourist attractions. Fee: 100 Euro.
Schools in Togo generally suffer from a shortage of teachers and huge classes, very often with more than 60 students.
Volunteers at public schools in Atakpamé assist teachers during classes, take care of the children and help them with their homework and free time activities, sports and play.
Volunteers with a good knowledge of French can also teach lessons maths, geography, reading and writing.
The children are 6 to 12 years of age.
Volunteers with a college diploma may work at a high school and teach students aged 12 – 23 yrs.
Volunteers at hospitals in Atakpamé will support the staff, take care of the patients, wash and feed them, help the doctors and assist the nurses in their daily work. Medical volunteers may also help in the hospital in the laboratory.
Volunteers with a medical background such as medical students or certified nurse’s can work closely with the patients as a doctor/nurse’s aide.
Medical volunteers without credentials can also join health projects but will mainly assist the nurses in distributing medicines and washing and feeding the patients.
Medical volunteers with health care certifications such as an ID as a medical student, EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) or paramedic certification, or nursing or physician’s credentials need to bring a certificate translated into French if they want to work as a doctor’s aid.
Work in Kindergartens
The kindergartens are located in Atakpamé. Since most families only speak local languages the kindergarten is the first place where children learn some French before they go to school. Your task will be to teach some basic French words, numbers and letters. Furthermore, volunteers are expected to play, sing, paint and dance with the children. The staff will also be happy when volunteers are creative and develop their own activities for the children.
Since education is one of the primarily tasks of a kindergarten, education material like pencils, pens, coloured marking pens or art pencils, storybooks, notebooks, educational games, etc. are very welcome. Volunteers should be flexible, pro active and patient and should bring passion and love for the children.
Work in orphanages
Though HIV/AIDS in Togo is not such a thread like in many other African countries the number of orphans caused by HIV/AIDS remains high.
The orphanages are located in Atakpamé. Volunteers assist the staff in all activities at the orphanage. During the morning, the older children go to school. So, volunteers take care of the younger ones, help them to dress and with breakfast and play or sing or dance with them. In the afternoon when the older children return from school, volunteers help them with their homework and play games or sports. Besides these child-related activities volunteers are expected to assist the staff in all other activities to run the orphanage including cleaning up the rooms or preparing meals for the children.
There are no specific qualifications required for the orphanage project. However, volunteers must have love for the children and willingness to share their time and compassion with patience and flexibility.
Vivenda Deaf School
The Vivenda Deaf Schools were founded in 2003 by Pastor Tété ETIKO as an answer to the missing social educative integration of people with a hearing impairment. In order to overcome the discrimination and disadvantage of deaf people Pastor Etiko started to teach deaf children and gave them professional training. He also worked on ways to improve communication abilities of people with a hearing impairment.
There are about 20 children at the schools all between 8 and 16 years of age. They are divided into two classes according to their ages. The Vivenda Deaf Schools follow the official syllabus of Togolese schools.
The project offers a wide range of possibilities to volunteers. However, their main tasks will be to assist the two teachers preparing their daily lessons and to support them with extracurricular activities. Regular working hours are Monday – Friday from 7:00 to 12:00.
The Vivenda Deaf Schools are located in Sokodé, the second biggest city of Togo and the capitol of the Central Region as well as in Kara, third biggest city and capital of the Kara Region further north of Sokodé.
Instituts Médico-Psycho-Pédagogique (IMPP)
The institutes were founded by the Consortium of Churches in Togo and are located in Sokodé in central Togo, around 340 km north of the capital city of Lomé and in Kara, 410 km north of Lomé, near the border to Benin.
The institutes provide professional training to handicapped people, children and adults. These skills will hopefully allow them to lead a life as independent as possible. There are about 20 people living at each institute, divided into three groups where they are taught arts and crafts Monday – Friday.
Besides professional training the handicapped also receive medical treatment such as physiotherapy or other treatment related to their specific handicap.
Volunteers assist the teachers and educators in preparing lessons and helping during medical therapies. They also help the handicapped to get to their classes and help them during meal times.
Normal working hours are Monday to Friday from 7:30 – 11:00 and from 11:30 to 15:00. Normally Wednesday afternoon and weekends are off.
Voluntary Work in Togo
For information about longer stays, please contact us at [email protected]
Inkluderet i prisen
Voluntary Work in Togo
Accommodation with Togolese host family (shared room, shared bathroom and toilet) or at project site with full board (3 meals a day, 7 days a week)
Supervision and support by local staff
Pre-departure booklet in English
The following is not included in the fee:
- Rejseforsikring (EXIS sender gerne et tilbud på en police, som passer til dit ophold)
- Udgifter til visum
- Sprogkursus (kr. 200,-/uge)
Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) is a narrow country in West Africa with about 7.5 million inhabitants. The capital, Lomé, is on the Bay of Guinea on the south coast of Africa. Togo’s coastline is only 56 km. long. Inland Togo borders Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso.
In the 1600s Togo was called „the Slave Coast”. In 1905 the country became a German colony. Later it came under British and French administration. Togo only gained independence in 1960. Today Togo is a democratic republic.
The climate is generally tropical, average temperature is 27 °C. The northern savannahs have a summer rainy season and the southern areas have two, spring and fall. Farmers depend on the rainy seasons for their crops, because there is almost no rainfall at other times.
The official language is French. Most of the population has never learned French, but speak one of the 40 local languages common in Togo. French is the teaching language in school, so children who speak only a local language at home must start school by learning a foreign language.
EXIS in Togo
You will find most of our projects in Atakpamé, Togos 5. biggest town with around. 85.000 inhabitants, situated in the Plateau region, 160 km north of the capital, Lomé. We do, however, also have projects in Sokodé and Kara north of Atakpamé.
The majority of the population depends on agriculture for a living. The main crops are sorghum, manioc, yams, corn, rice and beans. Only 40 percent of the population in the countryside has access to clean drinking water. Over 60 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. An average yearly income in Togo is under 300 Euros and rural families depend almost entirely on the crops they can produce themselves.
Most adults in Togo have not gone to school. Many cannot afford to send their children to school and also need the children to work at home. Therefore many children grow up with no schooling or practical trade skills.
The population includes Protestants, Catholics and Muslims, but the traditional nature religions are still an important part of life for most Togolese.
Togo or not to go
It is a big challenge to live and work in a poor country. It demands courage, some experience and the ability to adapt. It is emotionally demanding to work with underprivileged people, but at the same time it gives a unique opportunity to do meaningful work. It can be overwhelming, especially at first, to have to adjust to completely new conditions and communicate in a foreign language. Things are not as you are used to, the climate, the food, the atmosphere – everything is different. During your work you will be faced with a harsh social reality and experience things a tourist would never see.
Do not expect a planned daily schedule waiting for you at your work place. If you have decided to work with children, you should already know how to entertain children – with crafts, sports, games and more. Use your imagination and be creative.
EXIS offers basic clean accommodation in Togo, but do not expect European standards. To take part in the voluntary work program, maturity, flexibility, independence and the desire to do social work are necessary. Your stay is an experience you will never forget.
Visa requirements for EU Citizens
Visitors from non-Schengen countries are required to have three passport photos and require proof of yellow fever vaccination (see also Vaccination). Proof of a return or onward ticket is necessary; otherwise a refundable deposit to the amount of the normal return airfare must be paid to a bank or the transporting airline. Visitors must also hold all documentation for the next destination if continuing from Togo.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
The visa will normally be issued for a period of 3 months. Apply only for a tourist visa. For longer stays the visa can be extended for another 3 months by leaving the country, a visit to nearby Ghana, and entering again after some days.
It has been relatively calm in Togo since the Presidential elections in April 2005, but pick pocketing and carjacking are common in Lomé, especially on the seafront and in marketplaces. It is best to travel in groups, especially at night, in these areas.
Taxis are often poorly maintained and should never be shared with strangers. Border entry and exit points can be opened and closed without warning. Your passport/identity documents can be subject to checks by military and police. The ocean currents along the coast can be very strong, so be very careful if you go swimming.
Togo is a member of ECOWAS, Economic Community of West African States. Togo’s relations with the European countries have improved since 2006. This is due to reconciliation within the country. Togo has close ties to France, its former colonial power.
Additional information on Togo and practical advice can be found on the internet. Try: www.iexplore.com or www.lonelyplanet.com.
You enroll by submitting the enrolment form. Please mark your work priorities on the form. The local coordinator will do his best to respect your first priority, but we cannot guarantee that you will get your wish fulfilled. Volunteers should be open to other possibilities in case some projects are not available.
Our partner organization is responsible for the placement and will assign volunteers according to their wishes AND according to the needs and requirements of the projects. Please add a letter of motivation in French or English in which you explain why you wish to work as a volunteer and describe yourself.
Upon receipt of your enrolment form EXIS will send confirmation and more useful information.
Ready to go?
Reserve a spot for one of our projects in Togo