(Peace Corps, 1984, 175 p.)

Appendices[edit | edit source]

Calendar[edit | edit source]

Solar P21.GIF


Solar P22.GIF


Description of training[edit | edit source]

Solar and Energy Conserving Food Technologies

There are two threads running through this training program: the technical theme of using the sun and other energy efficient technologies in the area of preserving, preparing and storing foods; and the application of the technical information as part of the community work that you are currently doing.

The main focus of the training program is to help Peace Corps volunteers and their counterparts be able to design, build, use and maintain improved food preservation and storage devices and fireless cookers. However, as important as the technical aspect of the devices is the "how" and the "why" of their application. A technology is useful and appropriate only when it is used as a tool to improve a community's health and self-reliance. It must build upon what people already know and help them address and solve their own problems.

It has been shown repeatedly that technologies that do not take people and culture into account are not particularly helpful, and are often doomed to fail. The world landscape is littered with such "innovations". Cut, when technologies are based on the use of local resources, both human and material, in order to meet community-defined needs, there is a good chance that they will succeed and flourish.

The training program is designed so that you will be able to apply what -and how - you learn during the course once you return to your community. We ask that you take an active part in your education and that you work in cooperation with others in the group to identify and use the talents and resources that are available. We expect that you will practice and continue to develop skills that help motivate people, promote their self-confidence, and contribute to their understanding of learning as a process of discovery.

The devices you will build will be as consistent as possible with the realities of conditions in the communities where you live and work. The criteria that will be used are:

  • affordable and low in capital investment
    - simple and adaptable in scale and design
    - easily understood by people with little or no formal education
    - responsive to local needs and conditions
    - dependent on available resources and skills
    - able to be constructed, operated, maintained and repaired by the users based on the use of renewable sources of energy
    - characterized by the potential to contribute to local cooperation, good health and self-reliance.

The course is based on the principles of experiential learning and non-formal education. The teaching methods incorporate practical "hands-on" learning, guided and independent discovery, and the opportunity to learn from one another.

It is our intent to offer each participant the opportunity to learn new and useful information and to help spark a renewed sense of enthusiasm and discovery to share once the course has ended.

Sample memo to in-country staff[edit | edit source]


FROM: Ada Jo Mann, SPA Coordinator, OTAPS
SUBJECT: Solar and Energy Conserving Food Technologies Workshop

The Workshop offered includes both theoretical and practical information and an opportunity to gain" experience in the technical and extension skills necessary to design and build devices and introduce them to local people. The following categories detail the proposed program:

  1. Timing

a. The program requires two weeks so that participants are able to design, build and use a preservation device and cook using preserved food.
b. The program is designed to be delivered eight hours per day, Monday through Friday, and four hours on Saturday morning.
c. Sessions are designed to be delivered in two and four hour blocks of time, specifically, 8:00 A.M. - Noon, and 2:00 - 6:00 P.M. Evening sessions are strongly discouraged.
d. The program is approximately one-third technical, one third handson construction, and one-third extension methodology.

  1. The technical component of the program includes the following:

a. The advantages and disadvantages of traditional food preservation and storage techniques and devices.
b. Design considerations for appropriate preservation and storage devices.
c. Design, construction, testing and modifications of various food preservation and storage devices, as well as fireless cookers.
d. Design information on wood-fired, as well as solar food dryers, and "other technologies" as defined by the participants.

  1. The Extension Component includes the following:

a. Experiential learning theory and methods.
b. Non-formal education theory and practice.
c. Effective techniques for introducing new technologies.
d. Community assessment methods and practice.
e. Method demonstrations.

  1. Other sessions include:

a. Preparation of fruits and vegetables for drying.
b. The rehydration of dried foods.
c. Cooking with dried foods.
d. Other relevant sessions presented by the participants.

We will be sending a sample letter of invitation which you can send out to the potential participants of the program in order to clarify the content and purpose of the workshop. Please distribute these letters to potential participants at least three weeks prior to the beginning of the training program.

Sample letter to participants[edit | edit source]

NOTE: This letter should be sent via OPD/Peace Corps/Washington to incountry Peace Corps staff for distribution so it will arrive at least four weeks before the course is to begin.

TO: Participants in the Solar and Energy Conserving Food Technologies Workshop

FROM: The training staff (your names)

We are looking forward to being in (country) and leading what we anticipate will be an exciting and informative inservice training.

The training will provide you with technical information and skills in the design, construction and use of various food preservation, preparation and storage technologies. Although the focus is on solar food dryers and fireless cookers, there will be an opportunity to include other technologies, if there is interest and time available. In addition, the program will include information on various communication techniques and non-formal education teaching tools which have been used successfully in community development work. How to teach others what you learn at the workshop and how to motivate them to take action is a major theme of the program.

The course will include:

  • Information on design and health considerations for food technologies, with a main focus on solar dryers and fireless cookers
    - Design, construction, testing and adaptation of the different devices
    - Information on drying, storage and use of different food
    - Theory and practice of effective learning techniques
    - Community needs and resources assessment
    - End-of-training event to share new information with local communities

Please bring to the workshop as much information as possible on the following topics:

  • Current and past food preservation and storage practices in your area
    - Specific problems and needs that food preservation and storage know-how could address in your community
    - Successes and/or failures of previous food preservation and storage problems in your area
    - Foods and cash crops grown in your area; price variations during the year; times of excess and shortage; methods of preservation and storage for each; information on family gardens and meat production
  • The potential for marketing preserved foods in your area
    - Leather patterns (rainfall, temperatures, humidity) on an annual basis
    - Locally-available tools and construction materials, their cost and durability
    - Other information you think may be relevant to the workshop

We'd also like you to contribute ideas and suggestions to make the workshop as practical as possible. Try to bring teaching aids and ideas you've used or that you want to improve, slides or photos of your community and project (including food preservation and storage techniques) and samples of preserved foods.

Should you know of resource people who would be available to share their skills and knowledge pertaining to the workshop with us, please contact.

By the way, don't forget to bring your workclothes. Remember that a good part of the workshop will be dedicated to construction.

We hope to see you soon.


Annotated bibliography[edit | edit source]

All materials listed can be obtained either through the Information Collection and Exchange (ICE) or OTAPS/Peace Corps. The starred listings are recommended texts and materials; others may be included in a resource library during the training program.

Technical Materials

* Appropriate Technology Source Book, Vol. 1,2, Darrow, K. & R. Pam, Vol.in Asia.

A Survey of Solar Agricultural Dryers - Report T99, Dec. 1975.

This Survey contains the history, use, plans and drawings of solar dryers from throughout the world. Locally designed and built dryers are of special interest. Full of technical data and useful drawings and plans.

* FAO Economic and Social Development Series - Rural Home Techniques, Home Economics and Social Programs Service - FAO, United Nations, Rome, Italy.

This is an illustrated trilingual (French, Spanish, English) series of pamphlets relating to low-cost food preservation and storage methods, sanitation and water supply, and Fireless Cookers. It includes simple, easyto-follow instructions under each category.

* Fireless Cookers

This well-written book gives thorough information on the history, construction and use of Fireless Cookers.

* Small Farm Grain Storage.

A complete manual on solar dryers, back-up heaters, improved storage devices and enemies of stored grain. Good information on control of insects and rodents. Full of clear drawings, charts and plans.

Improved Food Drying and Storage Training Manual, Peter Zweig, et. al., CHP International - U.S. Peace Corps/ICE.

This manual has a technical focus on solar food drying and storage, particularly grains and legumes. It also emphasizes the importance of applying technical information as an integral part of community development.

Postharvest Food Losses in Developing Countries.

An excellent book describing food losses and how to control them. Complete with photographs of improved storage devices from around the world. Focus on using low-cost improvements which utilize local materials and resources.

Solar Food Dryer Plans, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania.

Complete and easy-to-read information about solar drying, including considerations of health, nutrition, and economics of building your own dryer.

Technical Materials (continued)

  • Preserving Food by Drying. A Math/Science Teaching Manual (Manual #M-10).

A very good teaching manual for people involved in education at the junior high or high school level. Describes the physics of solar energy design and the physiology of dried foods, health and nutrition.

Proceedings of the Solar Dryer Workshop, Manila, Philippines, 1978.

Focus of this book is the drying of foods in humid tropical regions of the world. More technical, less practical.

* Putting Food By, Ruth Hertzberg et.al., Stephen Green Press, Lexington, Mass., 1.

A readable, easy-to-use "how-to" book on food preservation technology which includes drying, pickling, canning, freezing, smoking and brining. It also gives health and nutrition related information, recipes for using the preserved foods, and suggestions for proper food storage.

Village Technology in Eastern Africa.

Focus on improving health and nutrition of women and children through the use of appropriate technologies. Short section on solar dryers and improved food storage devices.

Education and Community Development Materials

* Audio-Visual/Communications Teaching Aids Resource Packet. P-8, Peace Corps Information Collection and Exchange.

A compendium of materials to help in the development of a variety of teaching tools. It is an excellent resource.

* Bridging the Gap: A Participatory Approach to Health and Nutrition Education, Save the Children, 54 Wilton Rd. Westport CT 0688D, 1982.

A series of community development and nutrition education activities that use imagination and variety to present information and involve people in their own education.

* Child Nutrition in Developing Countries, Jellife, D.B., AID/Dept. of State.

From the Field: Tested Participatory Activities for Trainers, compiled by Catherine D. Crone and Carman St. John Hunter, World Education, 1414 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10019, 1980.

Useful activities and training materials for community development workers involved in training courses.

Health Education Training Model, L. Goldman, Hesperian Foundation Peace Corps/ Education and Community Development Materials

Helping Health Workers Learn, David Werner and Bill Bower, the Hesperian Foundation, P.O. Box 1692, Palo Alto, CA 94302, 1981.

Although the focus of this excellent book is on health, it has many applications for all kinds of community work and training programs. It can be used to prepare for and carry out a short course, or as a general resource for community education.

The New Games Book, Andrew Fluegelman, the New Games Foundation, Headlands
Press, Garden City, NY, 1976.

Playfair: Everybody's Guide to Noncompetitive Play Matt Weinstein and Joel Goodman, Impact Publishers, San Luis Obispo. CA; distributed by Sagamore Institute, 110 Spring St., Saratoga Springs NY 12866.

Both books are treasure chests of ideas for working with groups in ways that promote cooperation and creativity.

Perspectives on Non-formal Education, Lyra Srinivasan, World Education, 1414 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.

Useful information and ideas about applying the principles of non-formal education.

* The Photonovel: A Tool for Development, Daniel Weeks, ICE/Peace Corps.

A "how-to" book developed by a former Peace Corps Volunteer and media professional. A valuable resource for those who want to try a new and exciting way of sharing technical information. It is a kind of comic book approach that has been very successful throughout the world.

Training Manual, Appropriate Community Technology, Farallones Institute for Peace Corps/Energy Sector/OTAPS

Materials in solar technologies (water heaters, dryers and others), pedal and treadle powered devices, fuel conserving cookstoves, health and nutrition, community development, cross-cultural training. A useful resource for planning and carrying out a training program, or for locating technical information about alternate sources of energy, and the application of new technologies on a community level.

*Two Ears of Corn: A Guide to People-Centered Agricultural Development, Bunch, Roland, World Neighbors (distributed by the Hesperian Foundation).

It is not necessary to be directly involved with agriculture to benefit from this excellent book. It discusses ways of involving people in the development process, and gives examples and nuggets of inspiration along the way.


Information Collection & Exchange Peace Corps 806 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20526 (for program and training Journals, appropriate technology information, variety of publications and materials)

Farallones Institute Rural Center 15290 Coleman Valley Road Occidental, CA 95465 (information about appropriate technology, education, community development)

Aprovecho Institute 359 Polk Street Eugene, OR 97402 503-929-6925 (fuel conserving stoves)

Community Environmental Council 924 Anacapa St., Suite B4 Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (drawings, publications, information)

Institute for Local Self-Reliance 1717 18th St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009 (charts, drawings, publications, information)

New Alchemy Institute 237 Hatchville Rd. East Falmouth, MA 02536 (information and journal)

Appropriate Technology International 1724 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 202-293-9270 (funding and information for Third World groups)

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Rome, Italy
(How-to pamphlets on food preservation, storage and use in English, French and Spanish)

Hesperian Foundation P.O. Box 1692 Palo Alto, CA 94302 415-327-4576
(Health, community education and teaching ideas)

Volunteers in Technical Assistance 1815 N. Lynn St. Suite ZOO Arlington, VA 22209 (monthly newsletter, technical assistance service and VITA Village Technology Handbook, in Spanish and English)

Appropriate Technology Project Volunteers in Asia Box 4543 Stanford, CA 94305
(excellent Appropriate Technology Sourcebook to get you to what you are looking for)

Intermediate Technology Development Group 9 King St. London WCQE 8HN ENGLAND
(quarterly Journal of Appropriate Technology which includes information on publications, innovations and good ideas)

Transnational Network for Appropriate Technologies (TRANET) P.O. 90x 567 Rangeley, ME 04970 (excellent networking and ideas-oriented newsletter)

Vecinos Mundiales/World Neighbors 5116 North Portland Avenue Oklahoma City, OK 73112 (quarterly magazine and other publications in Spanish, English, and French; excellent for material on work you might do in community development)

Brace Research Institute McDonald College of McGill University Ste. Anne de Bellevue, P.Q.
HOA 1CO Canada (lots of technical information)

Canadian Hunger Foundation 75 Sparks Street Ottawa, Ontario KIP 5A5 Canada (last two groups have jointly published A Handbook in Appropriate Technology)

Technical Assistance Information Clearinghouse (TAICH) ZOO Park Avenue, South New York, N.Y. 10002 (newsletter on world issues)

Whale Earth Truck Store 558 Santa Cruz Avenue Menlo Park, CA 94025 (bibliography list and mail order of anything, almost')

Materials list[edit | edit source]

NOTE: Materials used in construction should be low-cost and readily available in the participants' areas. Therefore, the following list should be used by the Trainer as a guide. Amounts of each material needed are not included here, as they will vary according to the particular needs of each group.

A request list for materials and tools can be developed based on this shopping list. During the course it will simplify the purchasing and locating of necessary supplies if each participant anticipates the items that will be necessary for construction projects.

Materials and Tools List


Unit Cost






Chicken wire

Clear polyethylene or polyvinyl

Black polyethylene or polyvinyl



Window screen, non-toxic

Mosquito netting

Wire, thin


Bush Rope

Nails: 3cm 5cm 8cm

Paint, black

Paint, white

Corrugated metal roofing

Corrugated fiberglass roofing

Lumber: 1" x 6", 2" x 2"

Large baskets, tightly woven, with lids

Bush poles

Bamboo poles



Tins with sealable lids

Jars with sealable lids

Cardboard boxes, 1/4 - 1 cubic meter

Wood putty

Sealing wax

Sulfur (suitable for sulfuring fruit)

Masking tape

Wood glue

Local insulation materials (wood shavings, dried grass)

Cooking pots with tight-fitting lids, various sizes



Saw, crosscut and rip



Tin snips


Paint brush

Bucket, plastic or metal

Wood chisel

Tape measure, 2 meter length

Wood file

Thermometers, for air

Paring knives

Bubble level

File for sharpening machetes

Large scissors

Ideas for evaluation[edit | edit source]

There are many ways to evaluate a training program. It is up to you and the participants to decide on the most useful methods. You will probably want to evaluate the course content and format, staff participation, and the group members' progress. Whatever methods you select, the most important thing to remember is that the purpose of an evaluation is to find out how effective the training program is, and to look for ways to improve it. The evaluation process should be two-way between staff and participants; it should include a variety of methods, and be used periodically so that suggestions for improvement can be incorporated.


  1. At the end of a session, spend a few minutes to review the objectives that were to be accomplished. Ask for comments and suggestions for improvement.
  2. At the end of the day's activities, staff and participants anonymously write several positive comments about the day, several negative ones, and some suggestions for improvement. The papers are collected and put in a bag. Each person draws a paper from the bag, and in turn, reads the positive comments. The process is repeated with the negative statements, and with the suggestions for improvement. Someone may keep a tally of the kinds of comments that were given. At the end of the evaluation, lead a discussion to elicit opinions on the program so far, and deal with any areas of concern that should be addressed.
  3. In small groups, staff and participants list what they understood was to be accomplished during the day. Then, each group makes two other lists of what they believe went well and what could have been done better. The groups meet and share the lists, then discuss how the evaluation results will be applied to the next day's activities.


  1. Participants fill out a "report card" on the activities over a period of time, giving high marks, low marks and suggestions for improvement for each session or other activity. Post the "report cards" and discuss them.
  2. Write each of the following questions on a separate envelope and post them:
  • What did we get done that you hoped we would accomplish?
    - What did you learn that you didn't expect to learn?
    - What were some outstanding things about the week (or training)?
    - What were some not-very-good things about the week (or training), and how could they be improved?

Provide slips of paper for people to use for comments to be put in each envelope. Later, review the comments with the group.

  1. The participants evaluate your performance as a trainer, using the checklist on pages 9-17 of Helping Health Workers Learn and using the following points for consideration:
  • Ability to effectively communicate information
    - Apparent knowledge of subject matter Methodology used
  1. The participants develop and answer a number of questions to evaluate the training program, then discuss their comments.
  2. Divide a large sheet of newsprint into quadrants with a marker. In the upper left, write "Your Expectations of the Training Program"; in the upper right, "A Problem that faced the Group During Training"; in the lower left, "How We Resolved the Problem"; and in the lower right, "A Hope for the Future."

Distribute sheets of paper and ask the group to make drawings to represent the four areas. When the activity is done, everyone posts their drawing and explains it to the rest of the group.

This exercise may be modified by changing the headings on the newsprint sheets as appropriate to your program.

  1. Each member of the group writes a brief message to each of the other people on a slip of paper, mentioning a positive quality that he or she admires about the other person. As an option, on the other side of the paper, they may write a suggestion as to how the person might improve their teaching skills. An envelope with each person's name is posted, and the slips of paper put in the proper envelopes. The "telegrams" in their envelopes are distributed for people to read when and where they wish.
  2. Distribute a questionnaire to evaluate the week's sessions. Write the title of the session, and next to it a scale from "not useful" to "very useful" plus room for comments. Ask the participants to rate each session, then review the evaluations with the group. A variation of this is a general questionnaire used at the halfway point or at the end of the training program. (Choose from the suggested questions or make up your own). Discuss evaluations with the group.


  1. What technical information presented this week would you like to have reviewed during the next week?
  2. What is your opinion of the training site?
  3. Are you satisfied with the hours of the training program? If not, please make suggestions for improving it.
  4. What comment do you have regarding tools and materials?
  5. What do you think of the course content?
  6. What is your opinion as to applicability of the Solar Food Dryer in rural communities?
  7. Please comment on the performance of the trainers as far as their preparation, organization, knowledge of subject area, ability to communicate information, etc.
  8. What did you learn that you didn't expect to learn?
  9. What comments do you have regarding the group of participants?

10. What suggestions do you have for improving the course, either during the second week or for future training programs?

11. What are your expectations for the second week of training?

12. What suggestions do you have for improving the method of evaluation?

13. Please make any comments regarding the effectiveness of the committees so far.

Discussion[View | Edit]

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