(Peace Corps, 1984, 175 p.)

Introduction to training: defining expectations and needs, clarifying goals and objectives; identifying group resources[edit | edit source]

This training manual is based on ideas and information gathered from many sources. He have relied on our own and other trainers' experiences in Pre- and In-service workshops and similar programs, as well as on books and manuals published by Peace Corps and other groups involved in community development work. The purpose of the manual is to help you as you plan and carry out In-service Training programs in solar and other energy conserving food technologies for Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts.

It is obvious that no two training programs are alike. Neither are any two trainers. Therefore, we think that it is important to provide you with a tool for developing a program that can be used in different ways, depending upon the specific needs and resources of the participants, the constraints of time, staffing and budget, and the many other considerations that make each training program unique, be expect that you will use this manual in conjunction with other materials to create a program that is relevant, practical and appropriate to the local setting.

In-service Training should help community workers - whatever their primary focus - learn more about potentially useful technologies and ideas, and be able to share what they have learned once the course has ended. Although the participants may come from varied backgrounds and work situations, their common goal is to motivate people toward a more healthy and self-reliant life. The technologies presented here can be used as a way of accomplishing that goal, but only when they are utilized as an integral part of the work being done in a community.

The focus of the manual is on specific technologies: the design, construction and use of solar dryers for fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and herbs (including proper storage and use of dried foods); and fireless cookers. However, training means more than the transfer of technical information. It is important that both the materials and activities included be examples of learning that is useful on the community level.

From the start of training, the participants are expected to take an active role in their own education, and to help make decisions that will enhance the learning process. They are encouraged to use the resources that exist within the training group, as well as other resources that they will find in the local community.

During training, there is an emphasis on integrating technical and non-technical information, so that the participants learn and practice how to apply what they have learned about specific technologies. A large part of the training is experiential, and is intended to guide people to solve problems individually and in cooperation with others. Such parallels to community work are essential to the success of the program.

Training should encourage creativity and self-direction. By doing so, it leads to discovery - where the kernel of real learning lies. The ideas have been planted; it is now up to you and the training participants to nurture the seed of discovery and help it grow.


We include the following suggestions to help you as you plan the program:


  • Contact Peace Corps/Washington staff and learn as much as possible about the specifics of the program, including the amount and type of communication that they have had with in-country staff. Consult with other members of the training team, and begin to plan the program.
  • Review the description of training, pre-training assessment questionnaires and other materials in the Appendices, and modify them as needed. Have Peace Corps staff in Washington send the information to in-country staff, followed by a phone call or cable at least three weeks ahead of your planned arrival in country to make sure the materials have arrived and have been distributed.
  • Locate and order resources and materials. The Peace Corps Information Collection and Exchange is an excellent source of information. Find out if materials developed in-country are available. Become familiar with a variety of training materials (See Appendix, Annotated Bibliography), especially the Improved Food Drying and Storage Manual.
  • Request that arrangements be made for an appropriate training site. It should have adequate classroom space, enclosed work areas for construction projects, and a place for safe storage of tools and supplies. The site should be near a community, as well as places where tools and materials can be purchased. Housing should be either at the site, with nearby families of modest means, or in other simple surroundings.
  • Prepare and copy materials to be distributed to the participants. This includes handouts and information to be included in the participants' notebooks (see Session 1, "Introduction to Training").

After Arrival In-Country

Allow sufficient time before training to take care of details. You should arrive at least ten days before the course to do all the preparation that is necessary for the program to go smoothly. Begin with a good night's rest!

Meet with Peace Corps staff and clarify expectations and program details.

Meet with others on the training staff (including support staff, assistants, messengers, administrative personnel) to discuss the program and clarify roles and responsibilities for each person.

Talk with potential participants, other Peace Corps volunteers, Program Managers (APCDs), Ministry and agency representatives, local resource people. Learn as much as you can about who may be of help; in general, how to make the program most useful for the participants and their communities.

Visit PCVs sites as well as the training site and community, to learn about resources, needs and technologies currently in use.

Gather tools, materials; arrange for locally available building materials to be collected and made as soon as possible. Some materials (such as mud blocks, baskets, woven mats) may need to be ordered ahead of time, and others will need to be found.

Develop the sessions and activities. Be sure you plan the schedule to allow the participants enough time for study, reflection, recreation, construction projects, preparation for demonstrations, etc. It is important to leave room in the calendar for the changes and additions to the program that will occur based on the participants needs and suggestions. Don't forget to include evaluation time throughout the training program, including a midprogram and end-of-program evaluation. (See Appendix for Evaluation ideas)

Plan for ways to encourage the participants to take ongoing responsibilities for the course, including being on committees (See Session 1), peer teaching and sharing their skills.

Remember to use variety in the training program. People will use ideas they have found helpful in their own education. Activities should encourage cooperation and stimulate creativity.

Arrange for certificates of completion to be made for each participant to be distributed at a closing ceremony, or at the end-of training fair.

Have faith in the group. Trust that people are willing to learn and are capable of surpassing your highest expectations. You won't be disappointed!

INTRODUCTION TO TRAINING: Defining Expectations and Needs, Clarifying Goals and Objectives Identifying Group Resources


In this preliminary session, the participants have the opportunity to examine their expectations of training and to clarify their perceptions about the scope and content of the program. They look at the learning needs and the resources that exist within the group, and begin to take an active role in planning and carrying out the program. An important first step is taken, as well: establishing an open and cooperative atmosphere in which to work and learn.


To review the planned content and approach of the training course
To define and clarify goals, objectives and expectations
To promote a sense of group spirit as people get to know one another
To identify the participants' needs and skills relating to the training program
To begin to share responsibilities for carrying out the program


In a notebook for each participant:

  • a copy of the letter and description of training sent to each participant prior to the training program (Appendix B and D)
    - the proposed schedule and a blank calendar (Appendix A)
    - a brief biography of each trainer
    - an annotated bibliography and resource list (Appendix E)
    - a request form for materials, supplies and tools (Based on Appendix F)

Helping Health Workers Learn, Chapter 3, "Planning a Training Program" and Chapter 4, "Getting Off to a Good Start". (for ideas and icebreakers)

The New Games Book and Playfair (for icebreakers)


Skills and needs assessment questionnaire (Handout 1A)
Committee Sign-Up Sheet (Handout 18)


Notebooks, paper, pens and pencils for each participant
Newsprint and markers
A large calendar, not too detailed, with room for additions and modifications in the schedule


Assemble a notebook for each participant, using three-ring binders, if available.

Distribute the notebooks before the first session, if possible, so that people have time to review the materials and fill out the skills and needs assessment questionnaire. If this is not possible, do this step BEFORE the activity "Clarifying Goals and Expectations."

Write on separate sheets of newsprint:

  • the goals of the training program (make a list based on the description of training);
    - your expectations of the participants, and the training norms;
    - the objectives for the first session. Remember to use language that is clear and directed toward the participants. For example, one objective for the session might read, "To define and clarify our expectations for the training program."

Make a list of committees and responsibilities for each, using Handout 1B as a guide.

Talk with participants who have arrived early, and enlist their help in getting ready for the first session, setting up committees, or assisting the training staff in other ways.

Arrange the chairs in a circle or semi-circle.

Make sure the room or area has somewhere to post newsprint, and a way of hanging the sheets of paper.

Post a large calendar/schedule for the course.


It is especially important at the beginning of training to establish a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Try to have all staff participate in the opening activities to promote a sense of group spirit among all in attendance. When forming small groups, remember to use a variety of methods that help people feel comfortable and not left out. The first day, there may be latecomers. Try to include them in some welcoming activities that will incorporate them into the group.


  1. (15 minutes) Welcome and Icebreaker

Review the objectives for the first session and use the following icebreaker or select one of your own:
Take a firm piece of fruit, such as an apple or orange. Saying first your name, then that of another person in the room whose name you know, toss the fruit to them. That person catches the fruit, says their own name and the name of someone whose name they know, and tosses the fruit.
The process is repeated until everyone has had a chance to toss and catch the fruit.

  1. (40 minutes) Clarifying Goals and Expectations

Post and review the training program goals, and explain that in order to make any modifications in the program, it is important to find out what the participants expect from the training.

Have the participants form small groups. On newsprint they should make lists that are composites of their group's expectations as well as uncertainties (or doubts) about the training program. Some questions to guide the discussion are:

  • What do you hope to learn in this course that does not appear on the posted goals list?
    - What are you most eager to learn in this training program?
    - Are there goals on the posted list that you are not in agreement with? Which ones?
    - What are some positive things that might result from this training program?
    - What doubts or uncertainties do you have about the course?

Post the trainers' expectations and norms far the training course. When the groups re-assemble, ask them to post the lists and have a group member summarize each discussion.

Compare and contrast the hopes, expectations and doubts of the participants with the stated goals of the training program, as well as with the trainers' posted lists of expectations and norms.

Discuss any differences, and come to agreement with the group about the content, scope, schedule and norms for the program.

Explain that it is possible to make some modifications in the schedule and content of the training course, based on the participants' needs, time considerations and available resources.


Remember that the participants should review the description of training and other materials before doing the clarifications activities. You may want to expand the discussion to include a more in-depth look at the course content and the approach to training, depending upon how informed the participants are.

On the basis of the preceding activities, you should have a good idea about any modifications to be made in the schedule, content or scope of the course. Work with the participants to make the needed changes.

The lists of goals, expectations, norms, hopes and doubts may be used during periodic evaluations to answer the questions: Is the program fulfilling expectations? Meeting needs? Providing a useful education? Going smoothly?

  1. (50 minutes) Identifying Group Resources and Skills


If the participants have already completed the Needs and Resources Assessment Questionnaires, they may want to use them during this activity. If they have not done so, you may incorporate the completion of the forms into the activity, or ask the participants to give them to you before the next day's sessions.

Use one of the suggested activities, or use one of your own:

  1. Have the participants form groups of four or five (they may want to stay in the same groups as before). They should draw a group picture that represents the different skills and resources that each person brings to the group. Some questions to guide the activity are:
  • What past education, work experience, interests and special skills does each group member bring to this training course?
    - How can each group member be a resource to the other people in the training program?
  1. Have each participant select a partner whom they do not know very well. They should interview each other, focusing on the same questions as in Option #1. After the interview, each person is to make a drawing which describes their partner's skills, talents, and experience relating to the training course.

When the groups or pairs re-assemble, have them present their drawings. Review the range of skills and resources that exist in the training group, and focus on the possibilities for using the variety of abilities and talents during the course to help meet the needs of the participants.

If the questionnaires have been completed, collect them for review as well as for possible use by the planning committee in scheduling optional workshops.

  1. (5 minutes) Setting up Committees

Explain the purpose of the committees, and arrange for the sign-up sheet to be posted or passed around after the session. The first meeting of each committee should occur on the first day of training, ideally during the midday break, to organize and plan.

  1. (10 minutes) Summary and Closure

Explain that the success of the training course

  • as a parallel to community work
    - depends upon meeting the learners' needs and on the active participation and interest of those involved.

Ask for comments regarding expectations, doubts, needs or ether aspects of training. Some questions to guide the discussion are

  • Have your expectations changed since we began this session?
    - Are there some aspects of training that you were not expecting when you arrived?
    - Is there anything you've heard about training that has not been discussed ?
    - Have we met the objectives for this session?


Although it may not always be stated, you should start each session with a look at the objectives (written clearly on newsprint) and end with a review to see if the objectives were fulfilled.


We each bring a treasure of experience, abilities, skills, ideas and talents to the training program. Please take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire so that we can plan the program to meet the learning needs of each participant as well as to use the resources that exist in the group.

  1. What (if any) experience have you had in the use of basic hand tools? Please be specific.
  2. Do you feel capable of building a large, wooden box on your own?
  3. Please indicate which (if any) food preservation methods you've had experience with, including your skill level in each.
  4. What (if any) food storage methods have you had experience with?
  5. What teaching experience have you had, including material development and community work?
  6. Do you have some "artistic" abilities or skills? Great ideas?
  7. Have you done a community assessment before? Describe please.
  8. Have you participated in any other courses like this one? For example:
  9. How do you think you can be a resource to the group?

10. Comments, other learning needs, hidden talents and treasures?


The success of the training program depends upon the combined effort of us all. So that the responsibilities don't fall on only a few shoulders, let's try to divide the tasks and help the work go smoothly. Please sign up for one of the following committees. Each committee should have a meeting during lunch time today (a good way to get to know some new people!). Please let the training staff know if you need materials, supplies or assistance to get your job done.

Planning Committee: Work with the training staff to arrange the schedule to accommodate optional workshops, guests, activities. Provide warm-up activities, icebreakers and group energizers. Post schedule changes on the bulletin board. A member of the training staff will be included on the committee.

Site and Materials Committee: Makes sure that the area is kept reasonably neat, that materials, tools and supplies are available. Work with a training staff member to coordinate purchases as needed throughout the course.

Recreation Committee: Organize group activities and energizers, sports, games, parties. Help provide variety to keep the group's spirit and health in a positive state.

Library and Resource Committee: Organize and maintain a resource library using materials provided by the trainers, and coordinate copying of any materials requested by participants. Be in charge of distributing handouts and written materials as needed.

Food Committee: Make sure that meals and snacks served during the course are nutritious and appealing. Be in charge of organizing the kitchen area and work with others to make sure it is cleaned up at the end of each day.

Evaluation Committee: Lead discussions about how the program is going, how to improve it. Develop methods of evaluating the progress being made. A staff member will be on the committee.

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Authors Eric Blazek
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 0 pages link here
Aliases Solar and Energy Conserving Food Technologies 3
Impact 294 page views
Created April 14, 2006 by Eric Blazek
Modified December 9, 2023 by Felipe Schenone
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