Once managers and caretakers are identified by communities, training is an essential first step in building their capacities to manage the facilities well.
We conducted O&M trainings in batches for managers and caretakers of 3 facilities (maximum of 12 participants per training). Conducting the trainings in groups has a few benefits:
It shows managers and caretakers that the protocols are common across sites
It creates a connection between people of different sites and helps show the scale and importance of the project
Makes it necessary to choose a venue outside the community given the training a more formal feel
The manager training was a 3-day training, while the caretaker training was a 2-day training.
Topics covered included:
Importance of proper sanitation and introduction to the project
Roles and responsibilities of each manager and the committee overall
Roles and responsibilities of the caretaker and sweeper
Cleaning, repair and maintenance protocols
Cash management: the importance of user fees and how to maintain documentation
Other necessary documentation – writing resolutions and filling stock registers to track cleaning supplies
Guidelines for deciding operating hours and staff salaries
Dealing with safety and security issues
Accessing grievance redressal mechanisms
We also included a session for training both managers and caretakers on how to use the Sammaan tablet application.
Though 2 to 3 days may seem like a long time to devote to training, we found that it took that long to make sure that all of the content was covered in necessary detail. For instance, many of our managers initially felt they knew what is involved in cleaning a community toilet. But when we took them through all of the steps of a proper cleaning, including how to properly use cleaning supplies, many participants were surprised about how much they didn’t know and the session often ended up being their favorite one.
We also mixed lecture session with more activity-based learning, such as quizzes, skits, participatory demonstrations, and worksheet exercises to help keep participants engaged with the session and make sure they were understanding the information being provided. Another strategy that we used was to ensure one day of overlap between the manager and caretaker training’s. This provided a formal forum to discuss the responsibilities of each person, and that type of support that caretakers should expect from managers (and vice versa).
Check out the resources for a full agenda for O&M trainings of caretakers and managers, and detailed resources with training materials and content for facilitators.
Outline of trainings and sample agenda
Detailed training materials and content
Operations and maintenance manual