Training in Mauritania

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Training in Mauritania
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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.
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See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

The overall goal of Mauritania’s pre-service training program (PST) is to provide you with the necessary language, technical, core (cross-cultural and community development), and personal health skills to work and live effectively as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania. Peace Corps/Mauritania’s training philosophy emphasizes active, participatory learning. The training program stresses practical, experiential methods, using the resources of the training community and utilizing the knowledge and experiences of trainees, trainers, and counterparts. Critical thinking, problem solving, focused observations, and hands-on practice are encouraged. You will be expected to become progressively more independent and to take charge of your own learning. Collaboration, open communication, and a two-way feedback system are essential components of a successful program. Training is also a time to review your decision to join the Peace Corps for two years.

In 1999, Peace Corps/Mauritania implemented a community-based training approach. This means that trainees are placed in communities that resemble their final Volunteer site assignments. You will live in these communities with up to three other trainees and a facilitator. The facilitator will be available for structured language classes, technical fieldwork, and cross-cultural learning. Other staff (technical, health, and cross-cultural coordinators) will visit your community from time to time, and you will meet with other trainees in your project and with the entire training group at regularly scheduled intervals. This training approach allows you to experience the realities of living and working in Mauritania while still in training.

All trainees and Mauritanian facilitators return to the training center for several days at a time to continue large group training. Successful completion of all training components is required for you to be sworn-in as a Volunteer.


[edit] Technical Training

Technical training prepares you to work in Mauritania by building on the skills you already have and by helping you to develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Mauritanian experts, and current Volunteers conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you currently have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.

Technical training will include sessions on the environment, economics, and politics in Mauritania and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your program sector’s goals and will meet with the Mauritanian 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 be a productive member of your community.

[edit] Language Training

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 instruction is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and be invited to become a Volunteer. Experienced Mauritanian language instructors teach formal language classes six days a week in small classes of three to five people. The Mauritanian languages are also introduced in the health, culture, and technical components of training.

Your language training utilizes 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.

All trainees, regardless of eventual site location, must attain an intermediate level proficiency in French.


[edit] Cross-Cultural Training

As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Mauritanian 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 Mauritania. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.

Cross-cultural and community development also will be covered in your pre-service training 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.

[edit] Health Training

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 you might encounter while in Mauritania. 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.

[edit] Safety Training

During the required 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.

[edit] 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:

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