|Training Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)|
|Working group discussions|
Methods employed in the training of human settlements workers should be those that enable the integration of theory and practice; the following methods can be used in both full-time and part-time training programmes, in refresher courses and on-the-job training:
1. Lectures (should be used with other methods)
2. Field work
3. Seminars & workshops
4. Visits, trips and excursions;
5. Role playing
6. The involvement of resource people and agencies
7. Project tasks.
Several factors affect the success of any training programme for human settlements workers:
a. The educational level of the trainees.
b. Terms and conditions of service.
c. The venue of the training programme. (It was felt that training should be done in the country in which the workers will be employed)
d. The trainee's ability to communicate in the local language.
Obviously, the types of training for the various levels have to be different: public officials need a different kind of orientation from the mass of workers who are needed on a large scale to work in the field. Nevertheless, an important factor in common is that all the training should be practical and field-based, combining theory and practice. The workshop format was particularly liked because of its informality and possibilities of exchange. Many experiments have been done with workshops combining workers at different levels, not always with success. in Botswana it had led to conflicts, though other participants felt this was healthy as it could lead to better awareness of working problems. Several participants favoured workshops between working levels but thought that:
1. participants should be selected and orientated to the
training purpose to avoid a "free-for-all". (Some found it only worked if "the
boss" was absent).
2. the trainer should understand group dynamics and use techniques of facilitation, conflict resolution, etc.
The working seminar was also much favoured as a way of dealing with problems between different types of human settlements workers - for example, cashiers, community development and technical workers. They have different tasks to perform and may present a different "face" and give contradictory information to residents. Sometimes they don't understand each other's point of view. Conflicts can also arise between social workers and community development workers where their activities overlap. Role playing is a good technique here, as well as workshops, but although several participants used role playing for communicating with project residents, they had not tried using it for training their own workers.
Workers involved in skills training for productive employment need teaching skills as well as knowledge of their trade. They can be trained through example in functional and formal techniques (see the Zambia and Angola Training Case Studies) and in simple business management and book-keeping skills.