Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea" and "Training in The Gambia"

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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.
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==Overview of Pre-Service Training==
  
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Guinea, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Guinea.  
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Pre-service training will probably be the most intense period of your Peace Corps service, as you will need to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully serve as a Volunteer in just 10 weeks. While the training period will be extremely busy, it should also be a time of excitement, discovery, and self-fulfillment. The effort and challenges of adapting to a new culture will draw on your reserves of patience and humor but will be handsomely rewarded with a sense of belonging among new friends. The long hours of study and the accomplishment of difficult tasks will pay off in your ability to work effectively in a challenging job that will directly benefit a great number of people.  
  
Outside of Guinea’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Guinea are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.  
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The training approach is best described as discovery-oriented and self-directed. Based on adult learning methods, it emphasizes individual responsibility for developing the competencies to function independently as a Volunteer.  
  
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Guinea, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
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===Technical Training===
  
===Overview of Diversity in Guinea===
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Technical training will prepare you to work in The Gambia by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. Technical training will include sessions on the environment, economics, and politics in The Gambia and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your project’s goals and will meet with the 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.
  
The Peace Corps staff in Guinea recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
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By the end of training, health trainees will be able to contribute to the improvement of The Gambia’s primary health care through the planning and implementation of educational activities that promote maternal and child health.  Education trainees will be ready to teach computer literacy, math and science, social and environmental studies, and English, as well as to implement in-service teacher-training programs. Environment trainees will be prepared to teach agroforestry and improved agricultural and horticultural techniques to rural farmers, as well as to promote community forestry projects and environmental education in schools and communities.  
  
===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
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===Language Training===
  
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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. Experienced Gambian language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five trainees.
  
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
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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 continue to learn the language once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.
  
Female Volunteers who are single are often considered an oddity by Guineans because most Guinean women, particularly in rural areas, are married, some with children, by the time they are 20. Single women also face what in the United States would be considered inappropriate advances from Guinean male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances. Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training, and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any problems. These problems become less common once Volunteers have been accepted into their communities and have built a network of female friends and co-workers.
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===Cross-Cultural Training===
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
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One of the most important aspects of the training program is the experience of living with a Gambian host family. There is no other way to learn as much about Gambian attitudes, customs, and day-to-day life. Your host family can be invaluable in helping you learn the language and in introducing you to other members of the community. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
  
Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally not experience overt biases. However, Guineans may make some stereotypic assumptions based on someone’s background. For example, many Asian-American Volunteers are considered experts in Chinese or kung fu, and African-American Volunteers may be mistaken for a Liberian or Sierra Leonean because of an Anglicized French accent.  
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Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. You will be exposed to topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.  
  
Caucasian Volunteers may be annoyed by local terms for “white people” such as toubab, porto, or foté, but should understand that they are not pejorative. Even educated, middle-class Guineans are also sometimes referred to by those terms. Once Volunteers become known in their towns, children’s curiosity and name-calling diminish.
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===Health Training===
  
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
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During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions.  The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in The Gambia. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.
  
Volunteers in their early 20s sometimes find that they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues, since Guineans of the same age often are still pursuing an education. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are automatically accorded respect, since Guinean culture recognizes that wisdom and experience come with age.
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===Safety Training===
  
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=====
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During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at 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.
  
Homosexuality is not publicly acknowledged or discussed in Guinean society. Although gay and lesbian Volunteers generally choose not to be open about their sexual orientation, they have successfully worked in Guinea.
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==Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service==
  
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
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In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, a variety of training events may be conducted. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
  
Guinea is, for the most part, a Muslim country (the exception is in the Forest Region, where Christians and animists are more numerous). Being of a different religion is not a problem, as Guineans are very tolerant. They may not always agree with your beliefs, but they will not act negatively toward you because of them.  
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* Reconnect in-service training: Provides Volunteers with an opportunity to assess their first six to nine months of service and make plans for the following year. Volunteers work with associate Peace Corps Directors to develop training to increase their technical, language, and project development skills.  
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* Life Skills Manual training of trainers: Provides interested Volunteers and counterparts with training to assist youth in building their self-esteem, making responsible decisions, fighting HIV/AIDS, and acquiring skills to enhance their upward mobility.  
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* Gender and development and information technology in-service training: Provides interested first-year health and environment Volunteers and counterparts with the skills and information necessary to teach gender issues in their schools and communities and to incorporate information technology in everyday life.
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* Nursery management and fruit tree grafting in-service training: Provides first-year environment Volunteers and counterparts with information on these topics and strengthens the skills Volunteers acquired during pre-service training.
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* Gardening in-service training: Equips Volunteers with the skills and information to grow and maintain vegetables and to encourage their communities in gardening for greater income and improved nutrition.
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* Beekeeping in-service training: Provides first-year environment Volunteers with information on and skills in beekeeping, including honey harvesting, wax production, income generation, and nutrition.
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* Close of service conference: Prepares Volunteers for their future after Peace Corps service and reviews their respective projects and personal experiences.  
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities ====
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The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation (staging) through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the Peace Corps staff, the training staff, and Volunteers.
  
As a disabled Volunteer in Guinea, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. Physically challenged Volunteers will be treated initially with curiosity. Those who require ambulatory devices will encounter obstacles to mobility because there are no ramps or lifts on public transportation or in buildings. But those who serve will ultimately win respect and be considered role models.
 
  
As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of serving in Guinea without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Guinea staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
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[[Category:The Gambia]]
 
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[[Category:Training|Gambia, The]]
[[Category:Guinea]]
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Revision as of 22:02, 12 March 2009


Training in [[{{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
Pre-service training will probably be the most intense period of your Peace Corps service, as you will need to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully serve as a Volunteer in just 10 weeks. While the training period will be extremely busy, it should also be a time of excitement, discovery, and self-fulfillment. The effort and challenges of adapting to a new culture will draw on your reserves of patience and humor but will be handsomely rewarded with a sense of belonging among new friends.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]
|3}} [[Image:Flag_of_{{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}}.svg|50px|none]]}}

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

[[Category: {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |2}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |3}} {{#explode:Training in The Gambia| |4}}]]

Overview of Pre-Service Training

Pre-service training will probably be the most intense period of your Peace Corps service, as you will need to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully serve as a Volunteer in just 10 weeks. While the training period will be extremely busy, it should also be a time of excitement, discovery, and self-fulfillment. The effort and challenges of adapting to a new culture will draw on your reserves of patience and humor but will be handsomely rewarded with a sense of belonging among new friends. The long hours of study and the accomplishment of difficult tasks will pay off in your ability to work effectively in a challenging job that will directly benefit a great number of people.

The training approach is best described as discovery-oriented and self-directed. Based on adult learning methods, it emphasizes individual responsibility for developing the competencies to function independently as a Volunteer.

Technical Training

Technical training will prepare you to work in The Gambia by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. Technical training will include sessions on the environment, economics, and politics in The Gambia and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your project’s goals and will meet with the 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.

By the end of training, health trainees will be able to contribute to the improvement of The Gambia’s primary health care through the planning and implementation of educational activities that promote maternal and child health. Education trainees will be ready to teach computer literacy, math and science, social and environmental studies, and English, as well as to implement in-service teacher-training programs. Environment trainees will be prepared to teach agroforestry and improved agricultural and horticultural techniques to rural farmers, as well as to promote community forestry projects and environmental education in schools and communities.

Language Training

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. Experienced Gambian language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five trainees.

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 continue to learn the language once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.

Cross-Cultural Training

One of the most important aspects of the training program is the experience of living with a Gambian host family. There is no other way to learn as much about Gambian attitudes, customs, and day-to-day life. Your host family can be invaluable in helping you learn the language and in introducing you to other members of the community. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.

Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. You will be exposed to topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.

Health Training

During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in The Gambia. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.

Safety Training

During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at 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 Trainings During Volunteer Service

In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, a variety of training events may be conducted. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:

  • Reconnect in-service training: Provides Volunteers with an opportunity to assess their first six to nine months of service and make plans for the following year. Volunteers work with associate Peace Corps Directors to develop training to increase their technical, language, and project development skills.
  • Life Skills Manual training of trainers: Provides interested Volunteers and counterparts with training to assist youth in building their self-esteem, making responsible decisions, fighting HIV/AIDS, and acquiring skills to enhance their upward mobility.
  • Gender and development and information technology in-service training: Provides interested first-year health and environment Volunteers and counterparts with the skills and information necessary to teach gender issues in their schools and communities and to incorporate information technology in everyday life.
  • Nursery management and fruit tree grafting in-service training: Provides first-year environment Volunteers and counterparts with information on these topics and strengthens the skills Volunteers acquired during pre-service training.
  • Gardening in-service training: Equips Volunteers with the skills and information to grow and maintain vegetables and to encourage their communities in gardening for greater income and improved nutrition.
  • Beekeeping in-service training: Provides first-year environment Volunteers with information on and skills in beekeeping, including honey harvesting, wax production, income generation, and nutrition.
  • Close of service conference: Prepares Volunteers for their future after Peace Corps service and reviews their respective projects and personal experiences.

The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation (staging) through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the Peace Corps staff, the training staff, and Volunteers.