Training Community Health Workers to Present AMIGAS

What to know

No matter how experienced your community health workers are, they will need training before they are ready to deliver AMIGAS.


Experienced community health worker program administrators have reviewed the AMIGAS program carefully. Based on their experiences, we recommend that you plan for three training sessions and set aside time for the community health workers to try out their skills with a few community members. You may need more or less time for the training depending on how familiar the community health workers are with cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening. You know your program and community health workers best.

  • First session: Provide a program overview. Orient community health workers to cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening. Talk about policies for maintaining confidentiality.
  • Second session: Review program details: lesson plans, options, and tools. Have community health workers practice using the tools in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Practice session: Allow a few days between the second session and the final session for the community health workers to practice conducting individual or group sessions in their community.
  • Final session: We suggest that the final training session be held after the community health workers have had a chance to try out their skills in the field. This will be a time to discuss their experiences using AMIGAS, solve problems, and celebrate the end of the training.

A sample agenda for AMIGAS community health worker training is provided below. We hope you will use this agenda as a starting point to help you think about what your community health workers need to know and how you want to organize your training. As you design the training to fit your needs, be clear about your goals.

Training strategies

We know from experience that adult learning occurs best when it:

  • Is self-directed.
  • Shows respect for the learner.
  • Draws on the learner's own experiences.
  • Fills an immediate need.
  • Involves the learner.
  • Is reflective.
  • Provides feedback.
  • Takes place in a comfortable environment.

Give your community health workers a chance to practice the skills this program requires. As you design the training, remember that community health workers:

  • Bring a wealth of knowledge from their own experiences.
  • Reflect the values of the community.
  • Have a range of literacy skills.
  • May or may not have taken part in a formal training program before.
  • May or may not be familiar with the health issue and health terminology.

If training is successful, the community health workers will:

  • Understand program goals.
  • Have the skills to use the AMIGAS tools in individual and group sessions.
  • Be able to recruit eligible women in the community.
  • Understand how women are screened and treated for cervical cancer so they can be effective educators and advocates.
  • Be familiar with the community and organizational resources available to support them and the program participants.
  • Understand what is expected from them at all stages of the program, from recruitment through monitoring and evaluation.
  • Know how, and have the support to, respond to challenges that come up in the field.

The Background Information for AMIGAS Sessions and Glossary may be helpful to the person you put in charge of your community health worker training.

Evaluating the training

Consider creative ways to get feedback on the skills the community health workers have gained through the training. These methods might include asking them to:

  • Role-play skills learned in the training.
  • Fill out simple evaluation forms; for example, forms that use emojis to express a variety of emotions about the training.

Think about asking community health workers to show a skill learned during the training. For example, ask them to role-play a situation in which they are counseling an older woman to get screened for cervical cancer. We also recommend that you ask the community health workers what they liked and did not like about the training. You can do this orally or in writing.

Use your skill assessment of the community health workers who attended your training and the feedback you get from them to improve your training program. You will be glad you took the time now to learn what you can do better next time.

Sample training agenda

Session 1

9:00 to 9:15 a.m.: Introductions

9:15 to 9:45 a.m.: Overview of AMIGAS and role of community health workers

9:45 to 10:15 a.m.: Pre-test for community health workers

10:15 to 10:30 a.m.: Break

10:30 to 11: 30 a.m.: Knowledge-based training

11:30 a.m. to noon: Wrap-up

Session 2

9:00 to 9:15 a.m.: AMIGAS program options

9:15 to 10:15 a.m.: Lesson plans

10:15 to 11:00 a.m.: Tools

11:00 to 11:15 a.m.: Break

11:15 to 11:45 a.m.: Role-playing practice

11:45 a.m. to noon: Debrief

Noon to 12:15 p.m.: Wrap-up and field test assignment (community health workers field test all materials with two to three women in the community before Session 3)

Session 3 (1 week later)

9:00 to 10:30 a.m.: Discussion of field testing: successes, challenges, and problem-solving

10:30 to 11:00 a.m.: Recordkeeping and confidentiality

11:00 to 11:30 a.m.: Recommendations for recruiting women to participate

11:30 to 11:45 a.m.: Break

11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Presentation by a medical professional

12:15 to 1:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:00 to 1:30 p.m.: How to respond to questions you do not have the answers to

1:30 to 2:00 p.m.: Post-test for community health workers

2:00 to 3:00 p.m.: Celebration and certificates