Training Trainers at PDCI

Ray Shonholtz

Director, Partners for Democratic Change

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

We are a very large training organization but if you would ask me, for instance, we get a lot of requests to train. We got one the other day from the Philippines from USAID would we train a group of people at the municipal level. Our response was is there training for trainer dimension or do you just want us to train the municipal officials? We want you to train just the municipal officials. Well we are not interested. There are a lot people who are, and here is a great group of trainers that we recommend to you. We think they are great. We would use them if we wanted to. Unless it has a trainer dimension, unless you are going to build a capacity in the country with people indigenous in the country who are serious about this, this is not the right organization.

We are very interested in building a long term capacity, and you can only do that it is about development otherwise, all you do is have a group of people who have for a period of time a modicum of skills. You are not building on those skills because you haven't created anybody who can carry the skill forward. So unless I train you as a trainer you will never get to the stage to be able to train trainers, so if you always get trained and the only people you are training are participants, if I were a funder I would never fund that. Unless something really unusual came up, a special skill or something unique, it is not very sufficient model. It would be much better to have a model where I train you to train participants in your country and then came back 6mo later and the best of your group was trained to train you next group of trainers so you had a vertical development. You certainly want a multiplier effect. Even in the smallest countries, four or five million still have four or five million to reach but you do want to reach whatever the critical mass is you want to reach it. You are not going to reach it if you don't have a capacity building leverage approach, it is just not possible.

So if you are serious about development and you are serious about democracy building you have to discover the leverage effort, otherwise, it is an interesting exercise. Valuable, not to denigrate training in and of itself, but it doesn't go far enough.