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close this bookWater and Sanitation Technologies: A Trainer's Manual (Peace Corps, 1985)
close this folderSessions
View the documentSession 1 - Water and sanitation issues in third world countries
View the documentSession 2 - Introduction to the training program
Open this folder and view contentsSession 3 - Facilitation skills
Open this folder and view contentsSession 4 - Community mobilization
Open this folder and view contentsSession 5 - Math review
Open this folder and view contentsSession 6 - Concrete and reinforcement
Open this folder and view contentsSession 7 - Project documentation
View the documentSession 8 - Field demonstration: Formwork and pouring concrete
Open this folder and view contentsSession 9 - Introduction to environmental sanitation
View the documentSession 10 - Non-formal health education
Open this folder and view contentsSession 11 - Community water supply case study
Open this folder and view contentsSession 12 - Project planning and management
View the documentSession 13 - Community needs and resource assessment
Open this folder and view contentsSession 14 - Communicable diseases and control
Open this folder and view contentsSession 15 - Excreta disposal systems
View the documentSession 16 - Health education presentations
View the documentSession 17 - Basic drawing and blueprint reading
View the documentSession 18 - Field demonstration: block laying
View the documentSession 19 - Project planning: Latrine construction
View the documentSession 20 - Latrine construction
Open this folder and view contentsSession 21 - Women and water
Open this folder and view contentsSession 22 - Hydrology
View the documentSession 23 - Water supply improvements
View the documentSession 24 - Pumps: Installation, operation, maintenance
View the documentSession 25 - Field demonstration: Pump assembly and disassembly
Open this folder and view contentsSession 26 - Field demonstration: Pipework and plumbing
Open this folder and view contentsSession 27 - Principles of hand-dug shallow wells
View the documentSession 28 - Well site inspection and feasibility survey
View the documentSession 29 - Project planning: Well rehabilitation
View the documentSession 30 - Shallow well rehabilitation
Open this folder and view contentsSession 31 - Gravity water systems: Part I
Open this folder and view contentsSession 32 - Survey and measurement
View the documentSession 33 - Field demonstration: Surveying
Open this folder and view contentsSession 34 - Gravity water systems: Part II
Open this folder and view contentsSession 35 - Principles of spring development
View the documentSession 36 - Spring site feasibility survey and flow measurement
View the documentSession 37 - Project planning: Spring development
View the documentSession 38 - Spring development construction
View the documentSession 39 - Ferrocement technology and construction
View the documentSession 40 - Project planning: Ferrocement water tank
View the documentSession 41 - Ferrocement water tank construction
View the documentSession 42 - Constructing projects in a community
Open this folder and view contentsSession 43 - Proposal writing
View the documentSession 44 - Training review and assessment

Session 42 - Constructing projects in a community


Two Hours


* Examine and evaluate the construction of community projects as a cross-cultural experience

* Relate the construction of community projects during training to future Peace Corps service


Newsprint and felt-tip pens


One or more trainers

Trainer Introduction

It is generally assumed that sound knowledge of technical information is the key component to any successful construction project, and this is often the emphasis of a training program. This session is meant to bring out other important components, especially those relating to projects done in a community setting with local participation. The session should be held after the major training construction projects have been completed, and trainers should be familiar with the projects and the community in which they were undertaken. If no projects were done in a community setting, the session may be adjusted to deal with general themes of community involvement in water/sanitation projects.


Step 1

10 minutes

Present the objectives and explain the format for the session.

Step 2

15 minutes

Post the following questions on a flip chart paper and briefly explain each one.

Trainer Note

1. Can you define the community's view of the Peace Corps trainees, and your view of them?

2. What did you observe to be the strongest social institutions in the community and did you feel that you were a part of them?

3. What impact did the setting have on the technical work sessions?

4. What were your major frustrations during your stay in the community and what personal changes were needed to adjust to the setting?

5. What were the main positive aspects of working in a new community?

Step 3

20 minutes

Break into five groups, each group taking one question and discussing it at length. Each group lists on a flip chart the answers of each trainee (they need not all agree).

Step 4

60 minutes

Each group reports back to the entire group concerning their question. During each report, time is allowed for general discussion by all trainees.

Trainer Note

Feel free to add thoughts and observations throughout the discussion without leading it or imposing one point of view. Trainees may have very different comments on any one subject and a consensus need not be reached. Listed below, by question, are some considerations which may be brought out in the discussion:

Question 1

The community viewed trainees as: outsiders, agents of change, do-gooders, money for the community, progress for the community, support for the elite, help for the underprivileged.

Trainees viewed the community members as: helpful, understanding, polite, proud, easy going, appreciative, or, indifferent, uninformed, resentful, suspicious.

Question 2

Did the social institutions such as church, family, school, etc. play a positive or negative role in the community?

Were institutions different from what trainees have known in their own communities?

Did institutions help or hinder community development? Did the fact that trainees were in the community for only a limited time affect their interaction with social institutions?

Question 3

The community setting: made projects more useful and meaningful, increased trainees! desire to learn, increased importance of craftsmanship, encouraged sharing information with local people, increased importance of organization, caused frustration due to community indifference, emphasized the importance of cross-cultural as well as technical skills.

Question 4

Trainees' frustrations in the community included: discomfort with all the attention - the "fish bowl" effect, lack of personal space, lack of transport, the slower pace of projects, the language barrier, guilt feelings resulting from difficulty with adjustment to the community's life style.

Trainees adjusted through: open mindedness, reducing expectations, patience, being themselves, studying language and attempting to use it, making the extra effort to get to know someone.

Question 5

Positive aspects of working in a new community were: getting to know new people and places, doing worthwhile projects, learning new skills, practicing language, learning more about themselves, experiencing a cultural exchange, challenging themselves.

Step 5

15 minutes

As a large group, discuss and answer these questions. Review the objectives and close the session.

Trainer Note

Post these questions on flip chart paper:

1. In what ways do you feel this community experience has prepared you for your Peace Corps service?

2. Do you expect the technical projects of your Peace Corps service to be similar to those done in training?

Encourage an open exchange of opinions concerning these questions. Mention that as Volunteers, they may not be greeted favorably by all community members. Also, their technical projects may be very different, especially in terms of the process. Emphasize that the way in which a project is initiated, implemented, operated, and maintained will be very different from what they are familiar with. Flexibility and adaptability on their part will be crucial to the success of any project. Finally, point out that all Volunteers encounter difficulties and frustrations during their service. Emphasize that hard work, determination, and perseverance are needed to perform successfully as Volunteers. However, even these qualities do not always ensure success. Ask them if the feel ready to accept a certain amount of failure, as well as success, during their service.