Togo is a thin strip of land on the West coast of Africa, with its capital on the Gulf of Guinea. Much of Togo is traditional and still holds indigenous values and beliefs today. With Togo’s somewhat dark past, the country heavily relies on the tropical climate for agriculture. This makes for many worthwhile volunteer opportunities.
Conservation: Volunteers interested in conservation look into the national parks in Togo: Kéran National Park, Fazao Mafakassa National Park and Abdoulaye Faunal Reserve. With almost 200 mammal species and just under 400 species of birds, there is plenty of room for volunteers to contribute to the conservation of Togo’s wildlife. The biggest environmental problems in Togo are due to deforestation and pollution. No matter what your skills and experiences are, you can volunteer outdoors with Togo’s plants and animals.
Construction: Another option for volunteers looking to get their hands dirty and be outdoors is construction. Most volunteers find construction projects through volunteer organizations. Schools, medical clinics and hospitals, and community centers regularly need repairs and volunteers to help. Other construction related activities, like painting and brick laying, may be involved as well.
Community Development: A majority of people in Togo live in rural communities and have never known a life without poverty. There are many ways that volunteers can support local community development. For example, you could work to teach locals entrepreneurial skills and find loans, social work, or educating about HIV/AIDS.
Planning Your Trip
- Best Places to Volunteer: Lake Togo has a wonderful atmosphere that brings to life voodoo culture. Although many tourists come to Lake Togo for the resorts, it’s also a great place for a wildlife volunteer. The capital city of Lomé is another great place for volunteers who want to get immersed in Togoland culture. The busy city offers many opportunities to help the disadvantaged.
- NGO History: This small country has 41 NGOs listed on WANGO. If you’d like to volunteer directly through an NGO there are options in nearly every field - from finance to environmental conservation. Local NGOs need all the help they can get so don’t be afraid to reach out!
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Togo:
Togo is generally safe but there are a few exceptions. The capital city and all beaches are hot spots for petty theft and robberies. Avoid these areas when possible and always be aware of your surroundings. It’s suggested that you always take a taxi instead of walking or public transit at night. Make sure to get the number of a reliable taxi service instead of picking a random one off the street. People also drive particularly fast and dangerously in Togo so be careful on all roads.
In terms of staying healthy while volunteering in Togo, it’s important to visit a doctor before your trip. MD Travel Health recommends the following immunizations: hepatitis A and B, polio, meningococcus, yellow fever, typhoid, and MMR. Be sure to only drink bottled water and stay away from street food.
Contributed by Katie Boyer