OITC manual helps to train professionals, communities

By Sandra Masibay

The culmination of many years of hard work emerged last Thursday when Jaya Gajanayake and Stanley Gajanayake from the Office of International Training and Consultation (OITC) dedicated their new book “Community Empowerment: A Participatory Training Manual on Community Project Development,” to the OITC director, Dr. Franklin Van Buer.

The manual was developed to help train professionals of developing countries to better their communities through direct involvement. It is currently being used by the OITC office in their human resource and development programs.

Although targeted for professionals of developing countries, the manual is not limited in its scope. It can also be used to develop communities in both urban and rural areas of the United States.

Professors from the University of Boston and the University of Columbia are already taking advantage of the work and have ordered them for their classes.

Other persons that can benefit from the manual include community development workers, social workers, community leaders, development practitioners and volunteers.

The book seems well on its way to meeting the authors’ objectives as requests have already been made to translate the manual into four different languages: Chinese, Arabic, Sinhala and Swahili.

Jaya and Stanley Gajanayake both have doctorates in nonformal adult education from the University of Massachusetts. The manual is the product of their life and work experiences. Both authors have worked as consultants for different international development organizations.

In their native country, Sri Lanka, they were integral parts of local movements intent on producing change to better the lives of persons within the community.

“It is good to contribute in a small way. The book is from real life experiences, there is a theory behind every module. Things are real, that’s why people are interested,” Jaya Gajanayake said.

The manual includes 25 sessions supplemented with handouts and work sheets.

“We’d like to give special thanks to Lina Ong, Jeremy Plotnick and Audrey Sheehan who helped make the manual possible,” Gajanayke said.