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It is all about ‘How’

How can I teach technical topics in an understandable, interesting and expert way? This was the core question of the “Train the Trainers” course that took place at the THW training site in Wesel over the past two weeks. Fourteen trainers from the General Directorate of Jordan Civil Defence (JCD) took part, with THW specialists showing them how they can train JCD volunteers back in Jordan.

Chain saws, drill hammers and angle grinders – it is essential to learn how to use this equipment in a safe and effective way. Nonetheless, when the participants are all volunteers it is also particularly important to ensure that they have fun and remain interested while learning. This is why the Jordanian trainers – who already have the prerequisite technical expertise – came to benefit from the tips and tricks which ensure that participants in THW basic training courses gain motivation as well as expertise.

Motivation was definitely present during this training course, as both the THW specialists and the Jordanian guests testify: “The two weeks were simply great. Even after a few days we were not just talking about ‘teamwork’ but feeling it,” said Dirk Massi, a THW trainer from the Dippoldiswalde THW local section in Saxony. This was achieved using numerous games designed to strengthen the team feeling. For example, the “Tug the equipment vehicle” race saw the team divide into two groups, each using a grip hoist and pure muscle power to pull the heavy truck faster than the other group.

Team-building exercises, teaching methods and the subject specifics were all part of the course, and the THW operatives also showed their guests how an operational organisation can be built up based on volunteers. With this knowledge, the Jordanian the civil defence operatives will be able to train volunteers in Jordan and the surrounding region, building up the civil protection infrastructure there with the spirit and practice of voluntary effort. Further to this, the THW and JCD will also work together to train Syrian refugees in Jordan to be volunteers.

In total some 40 THW operatives from 16 THW local sections contributed to the joint training course, including some working as interpreters. The course in Wesel was primarily coordinated by seven local sections from the area’s executive section: Ahaus, Bocholt/Borken, Dinslaken, Gronau, Kleve, Moers and Wesel.

This course was the second training measure in a cooperation project financed by the German Federal Foreign Office. The first had taken place in May, with 14 Jordanian civil defence operatives learning about educational methods from members of the THW local section in Essen. In Wilhelmshaven, another THW local section will soon be gaining similar experience, when the operatives there welcome 15 colleagues from the Tunisian civil protection authority Office National de la Protection Civile (ONPC) next Saturday and provide them with training to help them carry out their duties.

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