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close this bookIrrigation Training Manual: Planning, Design, Operation and Management of Small-Scale Irrigation Systems (Peace Corps, 1994, 151 p.)
close this folderTraining session
close this folderSection 1: Introduction to irrigation principles and practices
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View the documentExam: Section 1 - Math skills assessment


* The Role and Purpose of Irrigation
* Assessing Trainee Math Skills
* Tool Use and Safety
* Exam: Section 1 (Math Skills Assessment)

Session Topic: The Role and Purpose of Irrigation

Session Goal: To enable Trainees to identify the need for irrigation and to describe their own training goals and expectations.

Session Objectives:

(1) Trainees will be able to define irrigation and describe the benefits of irrigation in the production of food and fiber.

(2) Trainees will be able to describe how irrigation is practiced in varying topographic, climatic, or social conditions.

(3) Trainees will identify their own expectations, goals, and objectives for the training.

Overview: This session should serve as the introduction to the training. Volunteers are provided with an overview of the purpose and means for applying irrigation practices in a variety of conditions. This session should be used by trainers to describe and show visually what irrigation is, what its benefits are, and the basic concepts that must be understood in order to do an irrigation project correctly. Trainees should also write down some of their own expectations, goals, and objectives for their service.

Session Activities:


30 Min.

Trainer has each person in the room select a partner.

The partners pair off and obtain some basic background information about each other. Specifically, each person should take turns asking their partner:

- area they are from in the U.S.,

- general work experience, educational training, and personal interests that might relate to the work they anticipate doing as a Peace Corps Volunteer,

- background experience they may have in agriculture or irrigation,

- motivation for joining Peace Corps, and

- goals and expectations they have for the training.

20 Min.

The group will reconvene as a whole. Each person introduces his or her partner to the group and provides a brief summary of the partner's background and training goals and expectations. Trainer records goals and objectives on a flip chart, without reference to the individual person who has voiced them.

10 Min.

Trainer presents a simple and concise description of the role and purpose of small-scale irrigation in tropical agriculture. Trainer can show video from International Irrigation Center Module No. 1, which presents these concepts graphically.

15 Min.

Trainer concludes session by going over the training schedule in detail, referring back to the Trainees stated goals and objectives frequently and showing how the training sessions will attempt to meet them.

Trainer Notes: Time allotments for this session will depend upon the number of Trainees in the group.

Materials Required:

* flip chart
* notebooks for Trainees
* video cassette player

Selected References:

Chapter 1, Irrigation Reference Manual International Irrigation Center Module #1

Session Topic: Assessing Trainee Math Skills

Session Goal: To determine the specific mathematical skills that Trainees will need to acquire or improve to work in irrigation.

Session Objectives:

(1) Trainees will complete a self-directed test of mathematical skills.

(2) Trainees will prepare a list of mathematical skills they intend to develop more fully or improve during the training program.

Overview: Volunteers who will be working with irrigation principles and practices must have the capacity to work confidently with basic algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Many Trainees will have had limited mathematical training or will not have used math formulas for many years. This session, preferably presented at the beginning of the training, offers trainers and Trainees an opportunity to identify specific mathematical skills that Trainees will want to strengthen in order to increase their comprehension throughout the training.

Session Activities:


10 Min.

The trainer should distribute prepared handouts that include a comprehensive set of mathematical problems to be solved. The problem set should include numerous examples of the kinds of problems Volunteers can be expected to encounter in the field, and the problems should reflect appropriate characteristics of local conditions. The trainer will review the test questions with Trainees as a group and make conversion tables, calculators, and area/volume table available.

30 Min.

Trainees will work independently to answer each question on the handout.

20 Min.

The trainer will go through the problem set with the entire group, having the Trainees indicate the method(s) used to solve each problem. Trainees should self-correct their own problem set. Conclude the session by having each Trainee prepare a list of mathematical skills they will obtain or improve during the course of the training program.

Trainer Notes: It will be important to emphasize to Trainees that this is not a pass/fail test but rather an indicator for each Trainee to identify personal needs to improve basic math skills. If Trainees are unable to solve even a single problem they are still fully entitled to participate in the training. They will want to allocate some personal time, however, to rapidly bring their math skills up to a level where they can accomplish many of the more demanding technical designs and computations required in upcoming sessions.

Materials Required:

* photocopied conversion tables
* photocopied problem sets
* scientific calculators (one per Trainee)

Selected References:

Appendix A, Irrigation Reference Manual: Conversion Factors; Trigonometric Table

Session Topic: Tool Use and Safety

Session Goal: For Trainees to identify techniques for using typical tools and machinery properly and safely.

Session Objectives:

(1) To have Trainees identify and describe the proper function of the tools commonly used in irrigation projects.

(2) To list ways to care for and protect tools.

(3) To list safety tips for working with tools at construction sites.

Overview: Volunteers must assume some level of responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others with whom they will work in implementing construction projects. Developing and demonstrating the proper use of common tools is an essential component of this work.

Session Activities:


10 Min.

Begin session outside in a place where tool use can be easily demonstrated. Introduce objectives of session and ask Trainees to list common tools used for irrigation projects. Flush out list to include tools and equipment missed by Trainees and tell Trainees that list will be typed and distributed to them to include in their reference notebooks.

20 Min.

Trainer brings out tools for Trainees to inspect. A Trainee familiar with each tool is asked to demonstrate how the tool is properly used and safely cared for.

20 Min.

Trainees generate list of tool safety tips:

- Don't leave tools scattered around work site.

- Ensure personal protection (hands, face).

- Check equipment before use to see if it has adequate strength and durability. (This is especially important when working with ropes, buckets, baskets, or lifting materials.)

Trainees identify ways to care for tools:

- practice proper storage,

- define person responsible for tools,

- clean tools after use,

- replace or repair defective parts,

- and learn how to use local materials where possible.

Trainees list site safety tips:

- know what other people around you are doing,

- notice where tools are,

- notice pits, holes, sharp edges, etc.,

- be aware of the power of tropical heat, and

- know how to lift heavy objects.

10 Min.

Trainer concludes by reminding Trainees that they will be accountable for tool use and maintenance throughout the training. All lost tools must be replaced at Trainees expense.

Trainer Notes: Trainers should refer to the List of Common Tools in Appendix A and identify those tools that are most appropriate for in-country conditions. These tools should be on hand at the training site and brought to this session.

Materials Required:

* flip chart
* handout of common tool list
* tools selected from tool list in Appendix A

Selected References:

Appendix A, Irrigation Reference Manual: List of Common Tools