|Training Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)|
|Training case studies|
This case Study is based on a method developed in Iran and Niger and now proposed to be implement in Angola. Master builders or members of a village who specialize in building are selected or volunteer to take part in a group learning process where they build, test, research and improve upon their own methods of construction. Trainees can then take charge of the construction of most domestic-sized buildings needed by their communities, and can also train apprentices using similar methods as well as providing technical assistance to self-help house builders.
Each building stage, from foundations to roof covering and finishes, is discussed amongst the participants to combine each builder's experience and the trainer's knowledge. The best way of carrying out each stage is agreed upon collectively, then built and tested. Simple field equipment is used for experiments such as using different sand-clay proportions in mud-bricks and subjecting the samples to compression and tension or simulated rain; the necessary improvements are then made. Each building stage is constructed, demolished and reconstructed several times, until the trainees gain a sound practical grasp of carrying it out. Training includes the supervised construction of community buildings such as schools and clinics, as well as architectural drawing, principles of design, implementation procedures, and the construction and operation of small-scale building materials production units such as brick, lime and roof tile kilns. Illiterate trainees acquire skills of reading and writing focused on their work and also have extra classes on reading drawings and keeping accounts.
Another benefit of the training method is learning to be analytical. It was useful to compare this method with that used in skills training in Zambia, where functional training was emphasized - making things for immediate use to get over the difficulties trainees have in handling abstract instructions. Also, trainers from Mozambique and Angola compared notes on how to mobilize action at village level so that returning trainees are not left to act as development agents in a social vacuum.