Session V-5: Issues in peace corps aquaculture programming
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Overview: Although trainees are caught up in daily training activities, it is important to step back at some point in the program and discuss the bigger picture. This session is partly a bridge to incountry activities, but it also serves the purpose of emphasizing the need for project planning and goal setting. The discussion helps ease trainee anxieties over their upcoming challenges and responsibilities overseas. Finally, trainees get a sense of the successful history of Peace Corps aquaculture programs, why their roles as extension agents are critical, and how the various administrative structures can promote or hinder the success of their own development efforts.
Note: This session should be facilitated by someone with varied and substantial Peace Corps fisheries programming experience. This discussion can be particularly effective when cofacilitated by the Project Director and the OTAPS Fisheries Specialist.
1. The facilitator(s) must start the session by introducing him/herself (themselves), giving particular emphasis to programming experience in fish culture or in the region to which the trainees are assigned. Also, the mood must be set by asking trainees to set aside, for 90 minutes, their ponds, training assignments, group projects, etc. Provide a simple definition of what is meant by "programming" and explain the importance of this to the trainees' personal situations.
2. Ask trainees about the experiences they had with Peace Corps just to get into the training program. Use this as a springboard to describe the structure and function of Peace Corps recruitment and placement. Include the roles of the host country ministries and overseas Peace Corps staff. Encourage relevant questions and direct the discussion to areas of highest interest.
3. This part of the session is more lecture oriented although questions are still encouraged. Because programming issues are largely outside of the trainees" experience at this point, the main objective is to expose them to some of the most important issues and sow the seeds for future discussions. The following list includes many of the key topics to be addressed:
4. The last part of this session should focus on what the trainees can do now in terms of preparation for handling these issues. This should start with the facilitator giving a lecturette on the importance of program planning and goal setting. The last fifteen minutes can be given to the trainees to brainstorm a list of actions they can take during training to better prepare themselves for the first three months at their posts. Ideally, if time permits, a separate two-hour follow-up session should be done just on program planning and goal setting. For an excellent design on this topic, see Small-Scale Marine Fisheries Training Manual (Session T-74, pp 497-500).
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