| Agroforestry in-service training: A training aid for Asia & the Pacific Islands |
The Forestry/Natural Resources Sector in the Office of Training & Program Support of Peace Corps conducted an Agroforestry Inservice Training Workshop in Honiara, Solomon Islands, from October 23 - 29, 1983. Participants included Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) and their Host Country National Counterparts (HCN) from six countries of the Pacific Islands and Asia. Those countries represented included Western Samoa, Fiji, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand and the Solomon Islands. Of the 33 participants in the workshop, 21 were Peace Corps Volunteers and 12 were Host Country National Counterparts who in most cases work directly with the Peace Corps Volunteers on their project/program.
The workshop design combined both technical presentations with appropriate "hands-on" experiential learning sessions. It was designed to meet the needs of the participants as expressed through cable traffic and data collected during a pre-research trip to the Solomon Islands in June.
One of the principal goals of the workshop was to simultaneously train counterpart teams of PCVs and HCNs in the concepts of agroforestry while at the same time strengthening their personal working relationship.
Emphasis was also placed on broadening the participants' knowledge of different extension techniques and strategies and to provide them with an opportunity to practice these techniques. As important components of the extension strategy, site survey and information gathering skills, activities of great importance to the extentionist, were discussed and improved through hands-on activities.
We also stressed the role of women in development, more specifically women in forestry, and the importance of integrating women into the entire process of project planning and implementation for a holistic approach to human resource utilization and development.
The actual sessions on agroforestry focused on the ecological, economic, social and technical aspects. They included an historical overview; advantages and disadvantages; tree, crop and animal production within a system; nitrogen fixing trees; project planning; seed selection and storage; fruit tree preparation and management.
The goals of the workshop were met to the satisfaction of the workshop staff. Most importantly, the unique opportunity of training troth Peace Corps Volunteers along with their respective Host Country National Counterparts proved very effective and beneficial in strengthening and building a more confident working relationship between them. In addition, each participant, as part of a group, prepared an oral presentation related to their field trip experience in which they utilized their extension and survey methodology skills. This experience along with the other sessions provided them practical "hands-on" experience hopefully giving them more confidence in recommending and incorporating, where appropriate, traditional or new systems of agroforestry in accordance with the local needs and conditions of their work sites.