Training in Cape Verde
The nine-week PST provides you the opportunity to learn new skills and practice them as they apply to Cape Verde. You will receive training and orientation in local languages (Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole), cross-cultural communication, development work, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to the Cape Verdean development context. PST is meant to prepare you for the first three to six months of service, and the skills you learn will serve as a foundation to start your community integration and service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde. We will meet and work together as a group, and you will have the chance to experience local culture and customs with your host family and during technical fi eld trips.
At the onset of training, the training staff will outline the goals and assessment criteria that each trainee will have to reach before becoming a Volunteer. Evaluation of your performance during training is a continual process, characterized by a dialogue between you and the training staff. The training director, along with the other trainers, will work with you towards the highest possible achievement by providing feedback throughout training. After successfully completing the pre-service training, you will swear in as a Volunteer and make final preparations for departure to your site.
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 cover areas Peace Corps/Cape Verde has identified as important for community work. This includes sessions on economic, political, and environmental situations in Cape Verde, as well as strategies for working within the project framework. During PST you will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Cape Verdean agencies and organizations that invited Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated by experienced Cape Verdean trainers who will conduct the training program and who, throughout this period, will help you build the confidence and skills needed to be a productive member of your community. Some Peace Corps staff and current Volunteers will be involved in PST, as well.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. They will help you integrate into your host community, and 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 Cape Verdean language instructors give formal language classes five days a week in small classes of four to five people. Language is also introduced in the health, culture, safety and security, 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. Our goal is to get you to a point where you feel comfortable with basic social communication as a launching pad for developing your linguistic skills more thoroughly once at site. Prior to swearing in as Volunteers, 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 Cape Verdean host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition into life in the country. Families have gone through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers to explain the purpose of the pre-service training program and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Cape Verde. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
Cross-cultural issues and community development strategies will be covered to help improve your skills of perception, communication, and facilitation. Topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, diversity, gender and development, and traditional and political structures are also addressed.
During PST, you will be given primary health training and information. Volunteers are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for their own health by adhering to all medical policies. As a trainee, you must attend all medical sessions. Topics will include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that trainees/ Volunteers may encounter while in Cape Verde. Sexual health and harassment, nutrition, mental health, and safety issues are also covered during these sessions.
Keeping safe is an important part of your Peace Corps service, and Peace Corps/Cape Verde takes this seriously. During the safety and security training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle and personal behavior that reduces risk in your home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention. In sum, you will learn about your individual responsibility for practicing and 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 which provides Volunteers with continuous opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills.
Over the two-year Volunteer term of service, there are additional training events.
- In-service training (IST) provides opportunities 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. This is usually combined with an All-Volunteer Conference to address broader Peace Corps and Cape Verde-specific topics with all Volunteers together.
- Completion of service (COS) conference prepares Volunteers for their lives after Peace Corps service and reviews Volunteers’ respective projects and personal experiences.
The number, length, and design of 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.