Volunteer Teaching in Togo
- Placement locations: Lomé
- Types of schools: Elementary, High School
- Age of students: 3 - 17
- Class sizes: 20 – 80
- Role: Teacher or teaching assistant (English, French, Italian, Science, Geography, History, Math)
- Requirements: None
- Extra-curricular roles: After-school clubs (language, human rights, and drama), sports, homework help, and remedial classes for slow learners
- Accommodation: Host families
- Length of placement: From 3 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
With little funding for improving classrooms and few new teachers being employed, schools in Togo are in crisis. Although the existing teachers work tirelessly, large class sizes and a lack of facilities means that teaching can be a challenge. However, all our volunteers report that the students truly want to learn and the local teachers are extremely supportive. This West African teaching project in one of the poorest countries in the world is an unforgettable experience.
Both the students and staff speak a mixture of French and the local tribal Volta Region language of Ewe. Speaking some basic French or taking the opportunity to learn or improve your French during your time in Togo is a good idea as most people do not speak English.
You can gain work experience teaching in high schools in Togo and no TEFL or other formal teaching qualification is required. Whether you want to do international volunteer work by teaching during your gap year, career break, or vacation, you will have a role to play and your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
Volunteering as a Teacher in Togo
As a Projects Abroad Teaching volunteer in Togo, you will be placed in a high school in the capital city of Lomé. Characterized by bare concrete classrooms with no glass in the brick latticed windows, the schools may be large but they are not well equipped. They look basic from the outside and often lack even the most basic facilities. Your main resource will be a blackboard, a piece of chalk, and most importantly yourself. You will start off as a teaching assistant and once you have found your groove you can often take over the class. The local teacher will always be available to help you and give you advice in your lessons.
You will generally be asked to take the timetabled English classes for a range of ages within the school. You will have a curriculum to follow and the local staff will help you with planning your classes. Your encouragement, praise, and some fun lessons are often all that are needed to spark an interest in the language and a desire to try harder.
Because of the heat, school finishes for most students at midday. In many schools, volunteers have set up popular English clubs which run for an hour once a week for each age group after the main school day has ended. The clubs give you a chance to move away from the main school curriculum and enjoy debates, drama, or songs and games with the children. The clubs can go a long way to increasing the student’s enthusiasm for languages and even persuade some students to keep up their English studies into further education.
Volunteer teachers in Togo can teach other subjects alongside English, including French, science, geography, history, and math. You can also get involved in extra-curricular activities such as human rights clubs or teaching German.
If you are interested in sports, particularly soccer, you could also help to coach the school soccer team. We also have a placement where volunteers can teach Italian full-time.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Togo Teaching Management Plan.
Volunteering at a Teaching Placement in Togo with Projects Abroad
During the summer vacation period from July to mid-September volunteers run a popular summer school program. Volunteers teach English to the students and incorporate other fun activities like drama or sports.
The Projects Abroad team organizes regular workshops for volunteer teachers in Togo. The workshops provide an overview of the educational system in Togo and the background of the school where you are working. You will receive help regarding lesson planning and ideas for games and activities to include at your Teaching placement. Volunteers in Togo also have the chance to attend a more general inter-cultural workshop that provides more information about Togolese culture and how this relates to your work.
The impact you have on the lives of your students will be obvious and long lasting. You will also be part of a much wider volunteer network, which is making a really positive contribution to the communities in which we work.
You can join the Teaching Project in Togo for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.