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Volunteer Overseas

Volunteering for Professional Psychologists in Togo

  • Placement location: Lomé
  • Requirements: Degree in Psychology - ideally volunteers will also have 2 years experience
  • Accommodation: Host family
  • Length of placement: From 4 weeks
  • Start Dates: Flexible

Psychology volunteer work in Togo

As a professional psychologist volunteering with Projects Abroad in Togo, you will help treat patients and provide support and training for local staff. You can work at a hospital in Lomé and a variety of smaller medical clinics. We also offer placements for psychologists interested in working with adults in prisons.

The field of psychology is relatively new in Togo. Up until a few years ago, there were no psychologists in Lomé’s hospitals. Now there are a small number but they are overworked and get very little pay. Your assistance will go a long way in easing the workload in hospitals and you can also provide crucial training for staff in rural clinics.

In the prisons, the situation is dire. Prison conditions in Togo are appalling, with prisoners often left on their own. It is only recently that Togolese psychologists have begun intervening with prisoners. However, these psychologists are often unpaid and lack the training required to cope with imprisoned patients. The number of psychologists is also too few for the high number of prisoners that require care.

If you choose to volunteer at this placement, you will be able to have a significant impact in helping local psychologists support prisoners. You will help provide training – evaluation and diagnostic, conduct consultations, introduce staff to different forms of psychotherapies – and research the psychological situation in Togolese prisons.

You can choose to focus solely on the situation in prisons, dividing your time between visiting prisons and doing additional research. You will also have the opportunity to conduct clinical research according to your own personal and academic objectives and interests, as well as those of your placements. Alternatively, you can combine these prison visits in the afternoons with mornings spent at one of the local hospitals for consultations.

This project is ideal for anyone qualified looking for volunteer work abroad or psychologists on a career break.

Here you will find answers to the following questions:

How can I help in Togo?

What will I gain from this project?

What will Projects Abroad provide?

What skills or qualifications do I need?

How can I help in Togo?

At this project, you can use your knowledge and training to help local staff. You can work on tasks such as:

  • Helping local staff in a hospital, including one of three options:
    • Helping to assess and treat patients diagnosed with HIV/Aids.
    • Working with a local neuropsychologist.
    • Helping with general psychology work, such as ward visits and consultations at another public hospital.
  • Providing support and advice to women in rural clinics on subjects such as sexual awareness, pregnancy, and family planning.
  • Supporting and training staff working with adults in Togolese prisons, and conducting research into prison conditions.
  • Helping to train speech therapists at a mental health clinic in basic psychological techniques.
  • Potentially offering guidance to inmates at a children’s prison.
  • Working at a care centre where the children come from harsh environments.

Volunteer as a psychologist in Togo

The local psychologists in Togolese hospitals normally work more in the mornings. They also often take extra work at private clinics. With this in mind, you will be expected to work at a variety of institutions to make sure that you can make the most of your time in Togo.

If you elect to focus on working in prisons with adults, your placement will begin with you conducting consultations alongside one of the referring prison psychologists, before you can take on consultations by yourself. This project is also suitable for graduate students pursuing a Master’s degree in Psychology – these volunteers will always attend consultations with the referring psychologist.

Before starting your placement at the prison, the team at our partner placement and the prison psychologists will first update you on the different prisoners’ requiring a psychological follow-up and their histories and difficulties. Depending on your interests and capacity, you can then decide which cases you are interested in participating or leading in.

Your safety at the prison is a priority. Prisoners are brought into the room reserved for consultations with psychologists by a guard. It is a large visiting room and psychologists are separated from the prisoners by a window, with guards present on either side.

Volunteers working at the care centre can help in areas that support the children. This ranges from how to concentrate on schoolwork to how to behave socially. You can also help train the director on different psychological methods.

Your work will take place from Monday to Friday and an exact schedule will be organized by your project supervisor when you arrive.

It is important to note that you will need to speak French to at least an intermediate level to take part in this project.

This project runs all year round so you can join at any time. You decide how much time you can spare and we will help you get the most out of it.

What will I gain from this project?

This volunteer work abroad will allow you to gain hands-on experience of psychology in the developing world. This is a relatively new science in Togo so your advice and help will be greatly appreciated. However, you will also be able to learn from the methods used by local staff. They will be eager to share ideas and try new techniques.

You will also learn about Togolese culture and way of life through working with staff and patients. They will want to hear about your life back home and your family and friends. We call this "cultural exchange" and we think it helps our volunteers gain a new perspective on life.

What will Projects Abroad provide?

We have over 20 years’ experience of running volunteer projects. We provide you with the following support to make sure your time in Togo is successful and enjoyable:

  • Safe accommodation with a Togolese family close to your project.
  • Friendly and dedicated local staff available to help 24 hours a day.
  • A member of staff to meet you at the airport when you arrive.
  • Medical and travel insurance.

What skills or qualifications do I need?

If you have completed at least a degree in Psychology then you are perfectly suited to this project. Ideally volunteers will also have 2 years’ experience.

It is important to note that you will need to speak French to at least an intermediate level to take part in this project.

If you are interested in this project but don’t have the relevant experience, then please read about our regular Care projects in Togo.

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