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close this bookAquaculture - Training Manual (Peace Corps, 1990, 350 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentForward
View the documentChapter one: Introduction
View the documentChapter two: Training philosophy and methodology
View the documentChapter three: Goals and objectives
View the documentChapter four: Site requirements, logistics and length of training
View the documentChapter five: Trainee qualifications and assessment
View the documentChapter six: Staff qualifications, staffing pattern and staff training
View the documentChapter seven: Ten-week program: summary and weekly schedule of events
View the documentChapter eight: Eight-week program: limltations, adjustments, program summary and weekly schedule of events
View the documentChapter nine: Program design considerations and orientation
Open this folder and view contentsChapter ten: Program design - week one
Open this folder and view contentsChapter eleven: Program design - week two
Open this folder and view contentsChapter twelve: Program design - week three
Open this folder and view contentsChapter thirteen: Program design - week four
Open this folder and view contentsChapter fourteen: Program design - week five
Open this folder and view contentsChapter fifteen: Program design - week six
Open this folder and view contentsChapter sixteen: Program design- week seven
View the documentChapter seventeen: Program design - week eight
Open this folder and view contentsChapter eighteen: Program design - week nine
Open this folder and view contentsChapter nineteen: Program design - week ten
View the documentChapter twenty: Program evaluation
View the documentChapter twenty-one: Recommendations for in-country training
View the documentChapter twenty-two: Publications, equipment and materials

Chapter four: Site requirements, logistics and length of training

Site Requirements:

· At least one pond per trainee is essential (more is better), with a minimum area of 100 square meters, and a maximum area of about 300 square meters. Each pond should have an individual water supply and be fully drainable by gravity flow. Trainees must have complete control over the management of their ponds. In other words, ponds should not be under the direction of government officials, university faculty, etc. while the training program is in progress. If the facility belongs to the government, a university, or a private farmer, very clear arrangements should be made and be well documented to prevent any disagreements or interference during the training program;


· The climate and water source should be such that warmwater conditions suitable for tilapia exist at all times;


· The ponds must have a reliable water source that is adequate to supply several ponds simultaneously. Drainage must also be good and must be adequate to enable trainees to drain ponds completely whenever necessary;


· Fish holding facilities should be present on the site, within a reasonable distance from the ponds so that trainees can hold fish temporarily when stocking, sampling, harvesting or transporting, or as needed for special projects. Tanks, raceways, or cages in extra ponds are examples of temporary holding facilities;


· Protected sheds (from rain, direct sunlight, insects, small animals, etc.) for storing equipment, feeds, and fertilizers are important. Sheds should be used exclusively by the training program (not shared with outsiders) so that trainees can have complete control over how they are managed and maintained;


· Access to sufficient quantity, quality and species of fish is imperative. Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus in particular, are the most important. Other species such as catfish and carp are good. It is helpful to also have access to any other fish with which the trainees may work or to which they may have exposure to in their countries of assignment;


· Access to several species of tilapia is extremely helpful for learning taxonomy. It is especially valuable to have samples of those tilapia species that are found in the areas in which the trainees will serve;


· There must be an appropriate and sufficient quantity of equipment and supplies (see Chapter 22 for specifics) to ensure that trainees are not limited in their work by having to wait for equipment;


· Access to inputs used for raising fish is also imperative. This should include a variety of feeds, fertilizers, manure, and other composting materials;


· There must be nearby surroundings conducive to site selection and pond design exercises. Important considerations include water sources, diverse terrain adequate for construction of ponds, and good soils with enough clay content to hold water;


· Access to other fish farms, research ponds and/or private or government hatcheries being managed by people outside the program are important for information, field trips, extension work, and providing work experience for trainees;


· Access to human resources working in the industry and various related facilities is also critical for providing information through interviews, lectures or field trips. Examples of important human resources include farmers, processors, feed mills, extension agents, government officials, university faculty and staff, contractors, markets, livehaulers/transporters, researchers, and diagnosticians;


· Adequate classroom space is essential. There must be enough room, chairs, and desks to permit the entire group of trainees, all staff and visitors to sit comfortably and to be able to see, hear and write as needed. Good lighting and ventilation are critical. Heat or air-conditioning (or fans), if appropriate, may also contribute to providing an environment that is conducive to good concentration. Classroom(s) should be furnished with a blackboard, and with electrical outlets for slide projector, aquarium pumps, etc.;


· The site must also have suitable space in which trainees can work individually and/or in small groups, and space in which large groups can meet and work. There must also be areas where trainees can work one-on-one with their trainers with enough privacy to minimize distractions and permit confidentiality if needed;


· An adequate place is needed in which the training library can be set up. There should be sufficient room for all materials to be properly stored and accessed;


· There must be areas where formal interviews can be conducted. These should be private, quiet and comfortable with enough seating for at least five people;


· Trainees must have quiet study areas where they can work in the evenings. These areas should be very convenient to the lodging facility (preferably located somewhere at the lodging facility), with chairs, tables, good lighting and comfortable conditions;


· There must be sufficient office space to comfortably accommodate all training and support staff. Staff facilities should include a desk and/or workspace for each staff member, a meeting area for staff meetings, and storage space for classroom and office supplies;


· The training site should be isolated enough to minimize distractions and facilitate a total focus on the objectives of the training program. To provide relaxation, social and recreational releases and interactions with the community, there should be recreational equipment and/or facilities on or near the site, scheduled free time and weekend outings.

Logistics:

· Facilities for good, wholesome, large meals should be as close as possible to the pond area. Arrangements should be flexible enough to accommodate departures from normal schedules or numbers of people, very early breakfast hours and occasionally rather late suppers, and takeout "brown-bag" type lunches (or breakfasts) upon request (for field trips or other special activities);


· Living space may be very simple, but trainees should not be so closely packed as to create stress among the group. Lodging should be as close to the ponds as possible, walking distance is best;

· Adequate security should be provided to ensure safety for the trainees and their belongings;

· If staff members do not all live at the same facility, it is important to have some means of communication between them. A telephone or two-way radio at the staff housing facilities is a necessity (this may not be possible in some in-country training situations). This is critical in case of emergency, and can greatly increase efficiency;


· Conditions at the living facilities must take into account the realities of housing a large group of people for a long period of time who are working many hours, keeping late hours, getting very dirty, etc. If the facility is being shared with guests from outside the program, it is preferable to have trainees together in one area, and if possible, somewhat apart from other guests. There should be some area where trainees can hang out wet, dirty clothing and boots without disturbing other people or creating ill feelings with proprietors of the facility;


· There should be adequate bath facilities to avoid too much waiting in the mornings. (3-4 trainees per toilet/shower);


· Laundry facilities must be convenient enough to be accessible to trainees as needed, preferably without having to rely on staff for transportation. At a minimum, trainees must be able to do laundry during the weekends;


· Trainees should have access to a post office, stores, and other services for personal needs if possible. If this is not possible, some arrangements must be made to ensure that trainees needs are met;


· Ready access to good medical and emergency care is imperative. The medical officer who is associated with the program must be willing and able to work with Peace Corps and must be available on short notice for individual problems and emergencies. There must be provisions for 24-hour emergency care, and a convenient pharmacy for filling prescriptions;


· Some form of recreation must be available to the trainees. If the site is not near a town or park, provide a volleyball net and ball, basketball equipment, frisbees, etc. Some kind of area (like an open field) for recreational activities should be near the lodging facilities and available to the trainees in the evenings. Often, there will be trainees who like to jog. The staff should research this ahead of time to identify safe areas. Trainees should be encouraged to jog in pairs or groups. Procedures should be set and clarified with trainees regarding injuries that may result from recreational activities;


· Access to a local community outside of the training group is important for providing a break from training activities, opportunities for social events and interactions, and practicing some of the non-technical skills trainees are encouraged to develop during training;


· Adequate transportation is critical. Vehicles must be safe and in excellent condition. If living and meal facilities are within walking distance of the ponds, there is a little more flexibility regarding vehicles than if not, though there must always be enough room in vehicles for all trainees and staff (and perhaps a few guests) to travel at the same time for field trips or other events. If trainees cannot walk from the living quarters to the meal facilities and/or from living or meal facilities to the ponds, then vehicle availability and coordination become even more involved. There should be enough vehicles and drivers to accommodate emergency trips or trainees who need to go to the ponds early, stay late, etc. Also, if trainees are dependent upon training vehicles to go shop ping, do laundry or other personal necessities on weekends, the same kind of flexibility is needed;


· Given the schedule of training, it will be difficult for trainees to have easy access to services such as the post office or bank during business hours. This is even more difficult if the site is far from any town or stores. Depending upon the situation and needs, the staff should arrange systems for trainees to buy stamps, cash checks or purchase necessary personal items. This may mean that the staff keeps rolls of stamps to sell to the trainees and sets up an on-site box for outgoing mail. A staff member may need to set up a regular schedule, perhaps one day a week, to go into town and run errands (this is not meant to get out of hand, just for basic necessities such as check cashing or emergency purchases, etc.). For check cashing, staff will need to visit with bank personnel and find out exactly what procedures must be followed to enable them to cash trainees' checks;


· Mail is an important issue. Trainees' mail is very important to them. Have as efficient a system as possible for in-coming and out-going mail, do not forget or delay distribution of incoming mail.

Length of Program:

For most of its history, Peace Corps aquaculture training has been ten weeks long. These ten weeks have always been completely full, very busy, very hectic and have never felt like enough time to adequately cover all of the material, skill development and hands-on experience that are necessary to bring trainees to a sufficient level of competence and confidence in their own skills. Although a longer program than ten weeks would be helpful from the standpoint of learning as much as possible, it would probably be too long to expect trainees to sustain their enthusiasm. Training is very hard work and requires a tremendous amount of effort and stamina, the level of which could not be expected to be maintained for longer than the ten weeks unless the pace of the program were changed. It might be possible to successfully combine technical training with language and cross-cultural training for a longer total training period, but a great deal of thought would have to be given to this to determine the feasibility of such a program. Since aquaculture training involves working with live animals, precise scheduling is not always possible. There are many situations that cannot be predicted (i.e. fish disease or mortality, water quality crises, etc.), and the logistics can be complicated (for example, a pond construction project may require travel time and transportation of a lot of equipment so that it would not be reasonable to try to block it into two hour blocks that would fit nicely around a language class schedule). Thus, any other components of a combined program would have to be extremely flexible to accommodate the nature of aquaculture training.

Recently, Peace Corps chose to shorten the stateside aquaculture training program to eight weeks due to budgetary constraints. The revisions in the design that were necessitated by this change included shortening some components, speeding up some components and even eliminating some components. More details are provided in Chapter Eight. The major disadvantages of the shorter program are not so much related to the actual technical material that is covered (though this is a definite concern), but relate more to the learning and skill development processes, stress on the trainees and staff due to the amount that must be done with even more difficult time constraints, and to the trainees' level of confidence in their own preparedness to do their jobs. The advantages of the shorter program are that the trainees have a shorter period of time during which they must sustain high energy levels and the staff has a longer break between cycles. Some Peace Corps staff feel strongly that the disadvantages out weigh the advantages, and that the training program should be ten weeks long. The kind of skill training which they consider critical to Volunteer effectiveness takes time to conduct properly but is highly efficient when viewed over the entire period of volunteer service.