Overview of Pre-Service Training
Training is an essential part of Peace Corps service. Our goal is to give you enough skills and information to allow you to live and work effectively in Namibia. In doing that, we build on the experiences and expertise you bring to the Peace Corps. We anticipate that you will approach your training with an open mind, a desire to learn, and a willingness to become involved. Trainees officially become Volunteers after successful completion of training.
The eight-week training will provide you the opportunity to learn new skills and practice them as they apply to Namibia. You will receive training and orientation in language, cross-cultural communication, development issues, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to your specific assignment. The skills you learn will serve as the foundation upon which you build your experience as a Volunteer in Namibia.
During the first few days of training, you will stay at a central training facility. Members of your training group will then move to different host families in the community near the training site. This home stay will help bring to life some of the topics covered in training, giving you a chance to practice your new language skills and directly observe and participate in Namibian culture. For the final week of training, you will rejoin the members of your training group until a swearing-in ceremony. Your training will also include a trip to your future site, to experience a bit of the day to day reality of your posting.
At the onset of training, the training staff will outline the competencies you have to master before becoming a Volunteer and the criteria that will be used to assess achievement of those competencies. Evaluation of your performance during training is a continual process based on a dialogue between you and the training staff. The Training Manager, along with the language, technical, and cross-cultural trainers, will work with you toward reaching the highest possible achievement of training competencies by providing you with feedback throughout training. After successful completion of pre-service training, you will be sworn in as a Volunteer and make the final preparations for departure to your site.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Namibia 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, Namibian experts, and current Volunteers 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.
Jobs in Namibia are less structured than you would expect in the U.S. Most Volunteers see this as an opportunity to respond to real community needs and to build on their own skills. What exactly a PCV does in his or her primary and secondary projects depends in large part on the skills you bring, the needs of the community and your creativity in developing meaningful activities that meet local needs.
Technical training will include sessions on the health related issues, including the structure of Education/Health/Small Enterprise sectors in Namibia and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Namibian 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.
During their Pre-Service Training, Volunteers are trained in many of the local languages, such as Afrikaans, Khoekhoegowab, Oshikwanyama, Oshindonga, Otjihereo, Rukwangali, Silozi, and Thimbukushu.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills can significantly contribute to your personal and professional satisfaction during your service. While these skills are not as critical to your job performance, they help you integrate into your host community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings.
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 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 Namibian 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 pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Namibia. 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, non formal 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 Namibia. Nutrition, mental health, setting up a safe living environment, 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 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 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 several specific training events that will take place. 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 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.