| Working as counterparts - A Peace Corps In-service training manual |
For over 20 years Peace Corps Volunteers have been living and working in countries around the world. One of their major tasks has been to work within the constraints of their host country's bureaucracies. Even when successful, PCVs have experienced frustrations in trying to understand and act within the boundaries and idiosyncracies of the host country organizations whether they have been a large ministry, a health care center, a school, an office or agency.
Up to this point there has been no organized effort to design training materials to prepare volunteers in how to work more effectively in host country bureaucracies with counterparts. One obvious drawback is that PCVs cannot easily be trained for such situations until they have had first hand experience with the host country bureaucracies. This means that such training should be done in-service and probably in the first 3-6 months.
We hope that use of these materials in in-service training will help Peace Corps Volunteers do their jobs effectively and with a greater understanding of the systems around them. We have had a wide-range of training experience with Peace Corps staff, both host country and American, and Volunteers in all stages of their service. It has been encouraging for us to see training and adult learning move from a sometimes hit-and-miss support function to an on-going requirement of Peace Corps effectiveness. We recognize these materials are unique in style and subject matter We hope they set a precedence for many more to follow
The materials in this manual have been developed specifically to address the need for training Volunteers in the subtleties of working with host country bureaucracies and counterparts. They have been designed for use in service training, although the more experienced trainer can incorporate some of the basic concepts into pre-service training. They were prepared for use by both novice and experienced trainers. However, the individuals who were consistently kept in mind as the sessions were being developed are those Peace Corps Volunteers who so sincerely want to do their jobs well, yet out of frustration find themselves saying "you can't get anything done here."
Dick Vittitow and Jan Elster