Total time: 18 to 21 hours
• Provide practical experience with basic carpentry skills such as:
• designing a structure
• drawing plans
• measuring and cutting wood
• using nails, screws and other hardware;
• Provide practical experience with basic masonry skills such as:
• planning and budgeting for a masonry project
• designing a form for concrete
• using rebar and other reinforcement
• mixing and tamping cement
• doing multiple pours
• curing concrete
• removing forms;
• Practice working in groups and coordinating on planning, logistics and labor;
• Develop leadership and management skills;
• Learn about effectiveness of various management styles.
Overview: In addition to knowledge about raising fish, trainees must have a variety of practical skills in order to be effective in addressing unique problems or situations, especially during the construction phases of the projects with which they will be involved. An understanding of basic carpentry and masonry will be helpful for making the equipment that farmers may need to build ponds or raise fish, and for constructing or improving facilities such as holding tanks, inlet and drainage structures or transport tanks. These projects also give trainees opportunities to learn from one another, and to learn about their own style s when working in groups and dealing with the inevitable differences of opinion and approaches that arise when several people work on the same task.
1. Group leaders (previously selected by staff - see Trainer Notes) are notified. The trainer who is supervising this project informs them of their assignments and clearly describes their responsibilities. As part of the description of the task, the trainer should show the group leaders the construction site, if appropriate, and describe any required specifications or limitations. The group leaders are also informed of which trainees are in each group (for wheelbarrow projects there will be four or five trainees per group plus one group leader, for a large project such as the construction of a holding tank, groups might be as large as fifteen or twenty with two or three group leaders). Group leaders are informed that they are responsible for the following:
• Initial design of the form, wheelbarrow and/or other relevant structures;
• Drawing plans of their design;
• Describing the task and the design to the other members of their group, getting input from the other members and revising the plans accordingly;
• Providing the trainer with a copy of the written plans, projected budget and a materials list by a specified date;
• Coordinating and organizing the group for the actual construction;
• Assigning tasks, setting schedules, calling meetings if necessary, etc.;
• Ensuring that everyone in the group has the opportunity to get experience with all important skills, and keeping the group informed of the progress;
• Keeping the trainers informed of the progress of the project and requesting additional materials as needed;
• Facilitating a discussion at the completion of the project to process the exercise and evaluate the design, construction and group organization.
2. Trainees work on construction of masonry form and/or wheelbarrows. If doing a form, construction time includes setting up of form, bracing and reinforcement.
1 to 3 hours 3. Trainees mix, pour and tamp concrete.
4. After allowing time for the concrete to cure, trainees remove form and shade or cover concrete as necessary for continued curing.
5. Group leaders facilitate a meeting to process and evaluate their work. Discussion should address the design of the form and/or wheelbarrow as viewed after completion of the project (problems may have been encountered in using the wheelbarrow, removing the forms from the concrete, or using the concrete structure that suggest improvements in design), the construction methods used, the process of mixing, pouring and tamping the concrete, costs, time, etc. In addition, trainees should discuss how they worked together as a group, i.e. quality of leadership provided, group organization, dealing with differences of opinion, division of labor, etc. After the trainees have finished their discussions and drawn some conclusions, the trainer can provide technical input, share some of his/her own relevant experiences and share some observations regarding how the groups worked together.
Materials and Resources:
• Group leaders will need to have access to some information about masonry. This may be through reading materials, but human resources, either personal or telephone interviews with experts, are preferable. Some trainees may have carpentry and masonry experience, and they are encouraged to share their knowledge with their groups;
• Graph paper;
• Newsprint, markers, poster board;
• Wheelbarrows and/or pick-up truck for moving heavy items;
• Lumber as requested by trainees;
• Nails, screws, bolts, other hardware as requested by trainees;
• Rebar and chicken wire for reinforcement;
• Wheels, old inner tubes for making tires, or other materials may be requested for wheelbarrows. Trainees or staff may choose to have trainees make wheels out of wood;
• Hammers, wood saws, hacksaws, screwdrivers, hand drills, drill bits, tape measures, line levels, carpenter's levels, wrenches, chisels, other hand tools as requested by trainees;
• Water source, hose if appropriate;
• Shovels and hoes for mixing concrete;
• Sand and gravel.
Note: The materials above are the most common requirements. Additional items may be required depending upon the actual project. (For example, if making a concrete elbow, PVC pipe will be required). Quantities also depend upon the number of groups and the actual projects.
• One trainer should supervise this exercise. The trainees should be informed of this and should work directly with this trainer to avoid confusion and inefficiency. The trainer provides minimal technical guidance, but should be available to act as a sounding board as the group leaders work out their plans and strategies for organization. The trainer should interact only with the group leaders and should not get involved at all with the organization of the small groups. It is important that the trainer does not undermine the authority of the group leaders. The trainer should provide encouragement, logistical support, and supply all materials and equipment as requested. As the exercise proceeds, the trainer should stay in constant contact with group leaders, follow the progress of the projects closely, and make notes regarding suggestions and observations that can be shared at the end of the discussions held at the completion of the projects;
• The group leaders may be selected based on a variety of considerations. If the project is to be included as part of the group pond construction project. For example, if the trainees will be building a monk in the pond they construct, the staff may choose to have one member of the Site Selection/Pond Construction seminar team serve as a group leader. This should only be considered if there are three trainees on that seminar topic, however, because they will already have a great deal of responsibility for the construction project. A better alternative is to select a team of group leaders for the masonry and/or construction projects based on previous experience with the skills involved and the trainees' needs for leadership experience. Much attention should be given to this decision. Giving too much responsibility for a very complicated project to a trainee who is extremely shy or who is not well respected in the group can be counterproductive. If the project goes badly that trainee's confidence will be lowered rather than strengthened. On the other hand, this is an opportunity for trainees who lack this type of experience to develop new skills and confidence. The best approach is to select a team with a combination of skills and experiences that the staff feels will complement one another, especially if the project is a large one. The wheelbarrow projects, which involve smaller groups and a more manageable task than something like a holding tank, are good opportunities for trainees with little leadership experience or confidence to learn about their own capabilities and develop their management styles;
• These skills may be practiced as a single exercise in which the form for the masonry project serves as the carpentry component. This is appropriate if the concrete structure that is to be built requires a fairly complicated form, such as a holding tank, monk or sluice. If the masonry project is to construct a simpler structure such as an anti-seep collar or concrete elbow, it is best to do a separate carpentry project. In the latter case, a wheelbarrow construction project is recommended because it provides not only the carpentry skill practice, but results in a very practical and appropriate product. The wheelbarrow they build can be field tested by the trainees during the program, and they can then improve upon the design and bring this with them to their countries;
• Each trainee must participate in both the carpentry and masonry components;
• The number of group leaders and trainees per group will vary according to the project and the number of trainees in the program. For a large masonry project such as a holding tank, as many as fifteen to twenty trainees per group with two to three group leaders is appropriate. In this case, it is especially critical to stress the importance of good organization, division of labor and scheduling to the group leaders. For a wheelbarrow project, groups should be limited to four to five trainees, with one leader per group;
• When informing the group leaders of their assignments, the trainer will have to determine when the initial plans are to be submitted. This will vary according to the training schedule and other work for which trainees are responsible. It is suggested that group leaders have a minimum of four days for working on the initial plans;
• There are a few options regarding step number 5, the group discussions. If there are several group projects, each group can meet separately first for about an hour. For the second hour, the larger group can get together to share highlights of the small group discussions and compare experiences, technical ideas and conclusions. If carpentry and masonry are completely separate projects, the processing should also be split up. If there are only two groups, one large meeting will be sufficient;
• In general, trainees enjoy this project and derive a great deal of satisfaction from it. Unlike much of their work with their ponds and fish, they can quickly see tangible progress and results, and they enjoy learning such practical skills. It is interesting to note, however, that in both the group discussions and the evaluation forms trainees complete every two weeks, they consistently cite the interpersonal interactions of the project as the more difficult aspects. They find working in a group (i.e., dealing with leadership or having to follow a leader, being organized, dealing with other personalities and opinions) very challenging and often frustrating, and they are often surprised by what they learn about themselves as they observe their own reactions and behavior;
• Trainers may find it helpful to refer to a booklet entitled "The Basics of Concrete" which was published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.