|Water and Sanitation Technologies: A Trainer's Manual (Peace Corps, 1985)|
This Trainer's Guide contains the basic curriculum for a Peace Corps Water and Sanitation Pre-Service Training Program. The subject matter was developed, over the last six years, to prepare Peace Corps Water and Sanitation Technicians and Engineers for field service by integrating technical training with community organization techniques. It consists of 222 total hours of training time, for a six to eight week training program, depending on the specific conditions of the particular program.
The manual is primarily a technical training guide, providing the trainer with an outline of instruction designed to equip the technician and engineer with the necessary skills for successful field work as a Volunteer. Therefore, it may be used as the principal training guide for a water and sanitation course, or supplemented with material from the Role of the Volunteer in Development manual for a complete Pre-Service Training Program. Portions of the manual may also be used separately, for specific instruction in a single subject, such as ferrocement construction, or spring capping.
The lesson plans in the manual are based on the principles of adult learning. The basic premise of this theory is that adults learn more effectively by doing, rather than by seeing or hearing. Therefore, trainers will more often be called upon to facilitate a discussion or group exercise on a specific subject, rather than deliver a traditional lecture. Furthermore, non-formal education techniques, such as role plays and visual aids, are used throughout the manual to reinforce the experiential and participatory approach to learning.
Many lesson plans incorporate trainees as co-facilitators. Facilitation of sessions, or parts of sessions, by trainees is encouraged, not only to give the trainees the opportunity to improve their communication and facilitation skills, but also to utilize the knowledge and resources of all individuals participating in the program, and create an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperative learning within the training community.
The manual contains a total of 44 lesson plans, numbered chronologically, in recommended order of presentation. The suggested schedule is laid out in block form on page 17. There is room for flexibility in the sequencing of sessions to allow for variables such as weather conditions during outside activities. However, trainers are advised that sessions build upon one another to present a progression of information. Therefore, care must be taken if changes are made in the suggested sequence, to insure that the material is still presented in a logical progression.
The lesson plans are categorized into five subject areas: Community Development, Project Management, General Construction, Environmental Sanitation, and Water Resource Development. A categorical listing of sessions can be found on page 7, under Training Subject Areas. To assist in the curriculum design of specific training programs, this table includes the number of hours for each session as well as the total number of hours for each subject area.
Classroom Activity accounts for 68 hours, or approximately 30% of the total training time. These sessions are intended to provide the basic theoretical background for field projects. In the classroom, trainers and trainees deliver prepared lecturettes, facilitate group discussions, present case studies, act out role plays, and use visual aids to illustrate important points.
The optimal classroom size is difficult to specify; too small a group, less than five trainees, for example, limits the number of differing ideas and opinions on a subject, and too large a group, over 15 to 20 trainees (per trainer), limits opportunity for individual participation. A number between these two examples will probably provide for the best learning environment. If the number of trainees in a classroom session exceeds 15 to 20 figure, additional trainers should participate as co-facilitators, or the group may be divided and the session presented separately to each group.
Field Demonstrations account for another 16 hours, or approximately 10% of the total training time. The purpose of the demonstrations is to introduce basic skills, such as concrete work or drawing, which can be used in a variety of ways. These activities take place in an outdoor setting and are "hands-on" exercises. Active participation by all trainees is essential. For these sessions, the size of the group should be no more than six to eight trainees per trainer. If more trainees need to attend a session, several demonstrations should be set up and run simultaneously by other trainers, or a single demonstration repeated several times.
Project Construction accounts for the bulk of training activity, 138 hours, or 60% of the total time. The construction projects are designed to accomplish three objectives: to provide instruction in specific technologies, to develop basic design and hands-on construction technical skills, and to improve management skills.
In meeting the first objective, to provide instruction in specific technologies, the construction project sessions in the manual use technologies appropriate to third world countries. One technological method of construction is outlined for each project. However, as there is no one specific method uniformly appropriate for all countries or training programs, adjustments may be made to fit specific requirements.
The second objective, development of basic technical skills, is achieved through hands-on experience. Trainees are responsible for formulating a detailed design of the project prior to its implementation. Adequate time is provided for this in the project planning sessions included in the manual. During actual construction, it is important that all trainees practice the hands-on skills necessary to complete each phase of the project.
The development of management skills, the final objective, is also attained through direct experience. One or two trainees are selected as project managers for each construction project, and assume responsibility for the organization and implementation of that project from start to finish. This role rotates with each project so that all trainees have the opportunity to act as project managers.
The number of trainees participating in a construction work group should be no more than twelve, preferably seven to ten. If a greater number of trainees are involved, additional project sites should be selected. The sites should be as close as possible to the main training center for logistical reasons, and trainers should keep in mind that the time set aside in the manual for each construction session is an approximation, based on past training experience, and does not include time for transportation or other considerations. Time requirements may differ and adjustments may be made accordingly.
Responsibilities of Trainers
It is assumed that all trainers who intend to use this manual possess a sound knowledge of the water and sanitation technologies practiced in the third world countries. Furthermore, they should be familiar with the principles of adult learning as applied to Peace Corps training in general. Before the training program starts, all trainers should study the manual and become familiar with its layout, methodology, and technical content. This will enable them to use the manual as intended, and to adapt various sessions to meet the specific needs of each program.
Individual sessions generally require some preparation; attachments may need to be reproduced, teaching aids collected, and/or reading assignments reviewed by the trainer. Trainees should be informed of reading assignments well in advance of each session for which a textbook or attachment is used. Furthermore, when a trainee is scheduled to co-facilitate a session, he/she must be allowed ample time to prepare, and trainers should be available during that preparation time to assist the trainee with both technical content and facilitation methods.
All reading assignments are taken from books included in the Training Program Textbooks list on page 5 of the manual. These books are all freely available through Peace Corps Information, Collection, and Exchange, and copies of each textbook should be ordered for each trainee. In the event that one or more of the textbooks are unavailable, alternative reference information dealing with the same topic should be substituted.
Additional trainer responsibilities include the selection of appropriate construction project sites outside the main training center, and the collection of a supply stock of basic building materials and tools.
Assessment and Evaluation
Informal program evaluation procedures are integrated into many sessions. Trainees are also asked to assess their individual progress on a continuous basis throughout the program. The manual, however, does not contain formal procedures for either program evaluation or trainee assessment. It is the responsibility of each training program to develop these components. Trainers may find the Session Evaluation form on page 355 helpful in evaluating specific sessions. The Behavioral Objectives Skills Sheet on page 11 may also be useful in developing evaluation and assessment procedures for a training program.
Lastly, this Trainer's Guide is the first of its kind, in the area of water and sanitation technologies, produced for Peace Corps. I believe that it is a valuable training tool. However, it must continue to be tested, evaluated, and modified under actual training conditions, and made to fit specific program needs and circumstances. If you have any observations or suggestions concerning its contents or teaching methods, please contact Peace Corps, Office of Training and Program Support, Water/Sanitation Specialist. A Manual Evaluation form can be found on page 357 for this purpose.