Training in Rwanda
Overview of Pre-Service Training
The most important function of Peace Corps staff is to provide support for Volunteers. Support does not imply daily supervision of Volunteers’ work, nor does it imply assuming parental roles. Volunteer support implies an ongoing interaction between Volunteers and all Peace Corps staff regarding how you handle such matters as your overall adjustment to the Peace Corps, your job assignment, and your community. Your Peace Corps staff is responsible for making regular visits to your site to assist you in any way possible in your orientation in-country.
Training will be busy for everyone. Often you will work over eight hours a day, five or six days a week. Be prepared for a rigorous, full schedule. The principal objectives of training are to provide a learning environment that enables you to develop the language (Kinyarwanda), technical and cultural skills, knowledge, and attitude necessary to work and live in Rwanda.
Your training will be a mixture of classroom instruction and training in the community, where you will learn by doing and then reflect on your experiences during formal sessions. You will spend time in the field, completing hands-on, practical tasks and participating in group discussions, lectures, and field trips. Each week you will spend time discussing what you learned the previous week, preparing for the next work week, and attending essential cross-cultural, health, administrative, and integration sessions.
Most of the training staff will be Rwandan nationals.
Technical training prepares you to work in Rwanda by building on the skills you already have and helping you to develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Rwandan experts, and expatriate consultants 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 general environmental, economic, and political conditions in Rwanda and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Rwandan agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them.
You will be supported and evaluated by the training staff throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you will need to undertake your project activities and to 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 host 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. Experienced Rwandan language instructors give formal language classes in small classes of four to five people. The national language, Kinyarwanda, will also be introduced in the health, culture, and technical components of training.
Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. You will have classroom time and 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 you can develop language skills more thoroughly once you are at your site. Prior to swearing in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.
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 health care and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that Volunteers may encounter while in Rwanda. Nutrition, mental health, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other STDs 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 safety throughout your service.
Additional Training 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.
See also: Rwanda