Session IX-10: Male and female volunteer issues
Time frame: Approximately I hour 30 minutes
Overview: As the time draws near for trainees to depart for their countries of assignment, they often have concerns or are curious about various aspects of daily life as a volunteer. In some cases, these issues include topics that they are more comfortable discussing in smaller groups with trainees and staff members of their own gender. This is not a designed session, but is an informal meeting meant to provide a setting in which these issues can be addressed. Since there is no set format, the following is simply a set of trainer notes.
1. These meetings are generally held in the evening, when trainees are fairly relaxed. Be careful not to schedule them for the evening before trainees have a major assignment due. In fact, explain what the meetings are about and let the trainees choose the time and place.
2. These are very informal and can take place in a trainee or staff member's room, a restaurant or some other comfortable location that is conducive to privacy and conversation.
3. The group is divided, with male trainees meeting with male staff members (and possibly visiting RPCV's, if appropriate), and female trainees meeting with female staff (and RPCV's).
4. There is no set agenda for these meetings. Trainees may bring up whatever they wish to discuss. Sometimes the meetings are very short, other times trainees have a lot on their minds. Examples of issues that have come up at past meetings include:
5. Staff members should not use this as an opportunity to preach, nor should they feel that they have to share more of their private lives than they care to. They should, however, be honest, open and sensitive in their reactions to questions or comments that may arise and in their willingness to discuss whatever topics concern the trainees.
6. Staff members should make it clear that they speak based on their own experiences observations and opinions, and that they are not speaking as official representatives of Peace Corps or as medical experts. If they are aware of Peace Corps policies regarding particular issues, they should inform the trainees of them, but in any case they should encourage trainees to obtain further information regarding Peace Corps Policies and/or medical information in the appropriate areas of interest.
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