Friday, April 5, 2013

TOT: Training of Trainers in Mantasoa


As I previously mentioned, I have been chosen as one of the trainers for the new group of volunteers, yay!  I am what is called an “anchor trainer,” so I will be spending two weeks at the training center instead of one.  I was very pleased to be scheduled for later in training when the trainees have returned to living full time at the training center instead of with their host families.  It will allow me to get to know them really well. 

Before we start training the new volunteers, we are required to attend a weeklong training at the center with all of the Malagasy and American support staff.  It was a great opportunity to meet the new language trainers, who are usually university students so there is a pretty high turnover rate.  Of the people who trained me, only 3 remain of about 15.  They all seem pretty cool, and my friend Mariana and I had some fun doing zumba with them, man can they dance!  We had to work out to keep eating all of the good food they make at the center.  While we certainly were getting plenty during our initial training, every time you return to the center after the first two months they make better food J  It was reeeealllly good during the training design and evaluation workshop, with morning AND afternoon snack that was often some kind of baked good, and an endless supply of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and popcorn.  We get really excited about food here haha.

So, because it is an entirely new training that we created just a month prior, we had a bit of a time trying to organize the skills of the trainers from two different sectors.  I think there were eight of us, and only two were from the previous CED sector, including myself.  Well, there are only a few sessions pertaining to business, and they were thankfully scheduled during my weeks. However, that meant the other CED trainer, who was scheduled for the first two weeks, was stuck teaching improved rice techniques.  Yikes!  So we played Sudoku with the trainers and switched the weeks around so that everyone was training to their strengths.

Then we had to get to work planning all of our sessions.  I expected us to be given an outline and to have to kind of follow that, but we really are designing everything from scratch, so that gave us a lot of freedom, but also meant we had a lot of work to do in not a lot of time.  We had to turn in lesson plans at the end of the week for something that was two months away!  So there was much less social time during this workshop, but we were very productive and successful, and I am very excited to implement these trainings, even thought I have to teach finance (yuck!).

I will be returning to the training center from April 22 to May 4 to train, but before that Emma will be hosting a few of the volunteers for what is called “demystification,” where trainees learn about how a volunteer conducts their day to day lives.  The AG trainees will still be doing a tech trip like I did last year, but health volunteers will be splitting up to spend some time with current volunteers.  So that is next week, and I plan to head out to Ampefy to help her out for a couple days before I have to attend the national VAC meeting on the 10th.  So I get to meet a few of the newbies before I train them.

All for now!

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