Training in Uganda
Pre-service training will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to integrate into your community and begin to work with your Ugandan counterparts in formal and informal settings. Training provides a friendly and safe environment in which to ask questions and learn about life in Uganda. The 10-week program covers a variety of topics, including language, cross-cultural communication, area studies, development issues, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to your specific assignment. The pre-service training in Uganda is community-based, which means that most of the training sessions take place in a community as similar as possible to actual Volunteer sites.
After your arrival in Uganda, you will spend a few days at a central training facility to recover from jet lag and learn a few basics before moving in with a Ugandan host family in the community chosen to host training. You will live with this family throughout training. This gives you the opportunity to observe and participate in Ugandan culture and to practice your language skills.
At the onset of training, the training staff will outline the goals of training and the criteria that will be used to assess your progress. Evaluation during training is a continual process, characterized by a dialogue between you and the training staff, which is ready to work with you toward the highest possible achievement of training goals. Upon successful completion of pre-service training, you will be sworn in as a Volunteer and depart for your site.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Uganda by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Ugandan 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, whether as a primary school teacher trainer or a health worker in the community well-being and positive-living project.
For teacher trainers, technical training emphasizes implementation of the Ugandan government’s priorities for education reform: improving teaching skills for literacy, numeracy, and life skills; improving classroom methods; improving school leadership; addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on education; and enhancing collaboration between schools and communities. For health Volunteers, technical training emphasizes working with communities to address primary healthcare issues.
You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Ugandan 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.
Throughout training, your technical skills development and sense of professionalism will be assessed using a variety of techniques including observation and the completion of a variety of assignments. A major component of this assessment is evaluating both your ability and willingness to serve as a full-time professional health or education professional with a Ugandan organization. Remember, while you are a Volunteer for Peace Corps, you should consider yourself a professional staff member of the organization with which you are placed.
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. During training, Ugandan language instructors teach formal language classes six days a week in small groups of four to five trainees.
Your language training will incorporate the 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 being sworn 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 Ugandan host family. This experience will ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adaptto living in Uganda. 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.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive healthcare and 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 Uganda. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.
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 how to set up a safe living compound as well as 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, 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 training: 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 Volunteers’ respective projects and personal experiences.
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.