The project “Learning about agroecology” is a project that has been set up by the NGO ASTOVOT for a few years. It is in the context of sustainable agriculture and land preservation. It involves the exploitation of a market gardening plot in agroecology where a diversity of organic vegetables are grown for local consumption. This project has two components. The first component is the production of organic vegetables and the second is awareness and training on the implementation of the ecological garden and eco-gestures. By setting up this project, the NGO ASTOVOT intends to focus on the initial aspect of agro-ecology: in the form of agricultural and manual skills respectful of the fauna and flora, (no chemical inputs, with plant cover, associations of plants or vegetables, …etc.) so as to enrich the biodiversity of the site and the fertility of the soil. Thus this project is also intended to be a crossroads for the exchange of skills, experimentation and promotion of organic crops between local and international volunteers.
Our agro-ecological garden is located in an environment rich in biodiversity and vegetation, with a small river next to it which allows the watering of the beds.
Aims of project
– Preserve the biodiversity of the site ;
– Promote the cultivation of various organic products (vegetables and fruits) through agroecology;
– To encourage educational exchanges on agroecology and other practices of a more responsible agriculture ;
– Weeding ;
– Board making, nursery, hoeing;
– Compost making;
– Protection of seedlings (shading), transplanting of seedlings, watering of seedlings of various cultivated vegetables;
– Reinforce the garden fence;
– Construction of a straw and bamboo straw hut for relaxation and conservation of tools and products;
– Organization of educational activities in the garden with the children;
Housing conditions are generally basic (especially in rural areas). The group is housed together in a house in which the volunteers have to share the rooms (usually 2 to 4 rooms). We have small mattresses and plastic mats that will be used as bedding for the volunteers. Because housing is often not equipped with beds. However, volunteers can provide small air mattresses or small floor mats, sleeping bags, mosquito nets …etc.
Volunteers prepare their own meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) on site. The dishes are varied and diverse with local and imported ingredients provided. However, the diet of each volunteer is respected and taken into account in the preparation of the meals. During the international days decreed on the workcamp, each group of volunteers (Europeans or Togolese) can present a typical dish from their country or continent.
As part of the international workcamp, several activities are organized: discovery walks, hikes, festive outings, cultural meetings. These activities allow volunteers to get in touch with local populations but also to discover Togolese culture.
During the weekends, group excursions are organized to discover the tourist sites of the region where the construction site is located. It should be noted that the participation (transport, visiting fees and other costs) of these activities are covered by the volunteers themselves.
NB : Internet access and electricity are limited depending on the project areas.
The NGO Association Togolaise des Volontaires au Travail (ASTOVOT) has more than 60 years of experience in the service of international volunteering and especially in the field of intercultural exchanges between young people from all countries of the world. Every year, it welcomes many volunteers from all over the world to Togo for its various short, medium and long-term volunteer projects (3 weeks to 12 months) as part of international solidarity actions. A founding member of the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS-UNESCO), ASTOVOT is in partnership with several volunteer organizations in Europe, Asia and Canada. The projects focus on community development through education, health, the environment and intercultural learning. These projects are open to anyone who has acquired significant knowledge and skills related to the mission, wishing to enrich their experience and contribute their professional know-how. Our overall objective is to contribute to the development of the people involved in the projects and the beneficiary communities.
The participation fee is a contribution requested by Astovot from volunteers participating in international projects. Astovot as any association in Togo does not benefit from any subsidy from the Togolese State. It is the participation fees of the volunteers that enable Astovot to finance its projects. The cost of participation in volunteer workcamps amounts to 200€ per person for 2 to 3 weeks. This participation will cover : accommodation costs; food; accompaniment of the group; administrative costs; purchase of materials and equipment for the project. The funds paid by the volunteers are distributed as follows:
2/3 for the organization of the project activities and 1/3 for the administrative management of ASTOVOT.
NB : Travel, and possibly accommodation and catering, between arrival in Lomé and the beginning of the workcamp are at the personal expense of the volunteer as well as the costs incurred during group outings or tourist excursions.
French and English are the two languages of the project. However, French is the official language spoken in Togo. It is advisable for English-speaking volunteers wishing to participate in this project to have a minimum level in French, because a large majority of local volunteers and communities have a low level in English.