Training in Madagascar
Pre-service training will provide you with the essential skills needed to successfully complete your service in Madagascar. During training, you will learn what you need to know to integrate into your community and to develop and implement an appropriate work plan with your community and counterparts. Training has five major components:
Technical training, cross-cultural training, language instruction, personal health and safety training, and the role of the Volunteer in development.
The training in Madagascar is community-based, which means that the bulk of it takes place in the community instead of at a training center. Community-based training is a more difficult training model in some respects, as the learning environment is real, not artificial. Most of your time will be spent in villages similar to the one in which you will be placed as a Volunteer, living with a Malagasy family and working in village schools. The learning environment is designed to provide you with experiences and meetings that will help you develop the knowledge and skills you need in your work as a Volunteer.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Madagascar by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Malagasy experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.
Technical training will include sessions on the environment, culture, economics, and politics in Madagascar and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Malagasy agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, they help you integrate into your community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Malagasy language instructors teach formal language classes six days a week in small groups of four to five people.
Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. The goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills further on your own. Prior to your swearing in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Malagasy host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families have gone through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of the pre-service training program and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Madagascar. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families. Cross-cultural and community development will be covered to help improve your skills of perception, communication, and facilitation. Topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, and traditional and political structures are also addressed.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. As a trainee, you are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that Volunteers may encounter while in Madagascar. Sexual health and harassment, nutrition, mental health, and safety issues are also covered.
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces risk in your home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting your own safety throughout your service.
Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides trainees and Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, there are usually three training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
- In-service training: Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment after having served for three to six months.
- Midterm conference (done in conjunction with technical sector in-service): Assists Volunteers in reviewing their first year, reassessing their personal and project objectives, and planning for their second year of service.
- Close of service conference: Prepares Volunteers for the future after Peace Corps service and reviews their respective projects and personal experiences.
The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.