|Irrigation Training Manual: Planning, Design, Operation and Management of Small-Scale Irrigation Systems (Peace Corps, 1994, 151 p.)|
|Introduction to the irrigation manual|
The training sessions have been designed to support Trainees who have already had some training in language and cross-cultural skills. It is assumed that the Trainees will have already completed a basic Peace Corps Pre-Service Training (PST) before beginning the Irrigation Principles and Practices skills training.
Developing irrigation skills to apply as a Peace Corps Volunteer in developing country situations is not strictly a technical exercise. The "irrigation" that Volunteers will practice is a very obvious blend of cross-cultural communication skills and technical concepts involving water, soils, and plant science. The session plans in this training manual reflect this fact. The training sessions have been designed so that technical concepts are presented and acquired through cross-cultural experience. The benefits and skills development that Trainees will experience from the irrigation training will be dramatically enhanced if they have had, at a minimum, sufficient language training to allow them to take on very basic communication tasks with farmers and in a market.
If Trainees have not participated in a PST or had some language skills development, then it is recommended that the training be done in a stateside (U.S.) location where Trainees will have access to rural or cross-cultural experiences. In-country training locations should include access to farm and market conditions typical of most Volunteer assignments. Trainers should review the list of work sites required to fulfill the training sessions, and then identify a suitable training location that will provide reasonably quick access to a host of sites that meet these needs. Reducing the travel time from the classroom to potential work sites provides the Trainees with more opportunity to complete their tasks without panic. Given the tremendous time constraint that is already built into the training, this quick field access becomes very important.
Trainees should be prepared to work long hours with minimal supervision. While irrigation field work can require a great deal of physical exertion, any reasonably healthy person can perform the tasks required. Irrigation training should be accessible to any man or woman who can wield a shovel or connect a pipe. It is recommended, however, that potential Trainees be screened to indicate any previous experience or capabilities working with basic math. Irrigation system designs or repairs frequently involve the use of skills in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. Trainees who have not had some exposure to these concepts in the past, or who do not feel they will be capable of bringing these skills up to speed quickly, may find the training a bit overwhelming at times.