On the 27th of September 2019, the highly anticipated MEGA “Training the Trainer” workshop was held in Cape Town. In the months leading up, we had worked hard to incorporate all the valuable feedback from primary health care workers and students from Zambia, South Africa and Germany who had taken part in the piloting phase. Participants of the training course in Cape Town consisted of designated future trainers from within each of our partner universities in South Africa and Zambia and (to much of our delight!) a number of local primary mental health care workers. The HAW team conducted the training course and was met with a highly motivated and engaged group of trainees and a lot of expertise already at hand.
Throughout the lengthy preparation phase for the training, there was a growing awareness that the MEGA training needs to offer learning opportunities for a heterogeneous group of trainees with diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. We, therefore, tried to produce compact learning material consisting of sound information about youth mental health issues in a way that opens up a space for discussion and reflection, Most of all we want to equip practitioners with a new skill – how to use the MEGA app. The MEGA curriculum is split up in modules and trainers follow a manual in the form of a powerpoint presentation, which guides them step-by-step through a 6-hour training course. In order to guarantee a level of standardization, trainers should orientate towards the notes and follow the curriculum as much as possible. However, if there is a lack of time, the principle “less is more” applies. If the group of trainees is fairly advanced, the (online) material offers a variety of further readings.
The results of a short evaluation questionnaire all participants filled out after the training day show that the MEGA “Training the Trainer” course in Cape Town proved to be a success. Trainees enjoyed the mix of presentation, large and small group discussion and the hands-on practice session using the app in a role-play setting. They gave valuable feedback for the final revision of the MEGA app, which was appreciated by our partners from Riga who are launching the final version of the app. The MEGA trainers are ready to rumble and the MEGA team is excited to roll out the MEGA training in February 2020!