A proposed multi-faceted peer education approach to ensure sustainable community development

George, Susannah Helen
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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Thus far, no youth intervention strategy has responded to the root causes of the HIV/AIDS crisis amongst young people through an approach that encompasses both a prevention and a future leadership strategy in one development model. This article tells the story of the development and pilot process of an adolescent peer education model, for which the author of this paper was the leader. The model is being proposed as a youth development strategy to positively impact community social norms by using young opinion leaders as the catalyst for change. The model was developed through an NGO, OIL Reach Out Adolescent Training (OIL), that specifically set out to pioneer, implement and evaluate best practice adolescent peer education in one cross-cultural community as a model for other communities in Africa. OIL set out basing its belief in the efficacy of peer education on behavioural theories, which support it as a strategy for behaviour change. At the heart of their peer education pilot was the belief that the message giver is the strongest message; people don’t change with information, they change when others around them change. Together with peer education theories, OIL applied a “futures-oriented” education approach in their curriculum development. OIL set out with a definition of peer education as being “the process whereby skilled facilitators assist a group of suitable young people to: educate their peers in a structured manner; informally role-model healthy behaviour; recognise youth in need of additional help and refer them for assistance; and advocate for resources and services for themselves and their peers”. (Deutsch, C. & Swartz. S 2003), OIL strategically selected a community at the tip of the Western Cape to pilot, made up of 4 diverse school communities and representing a microcosm of periurban South Africa as a whole. OIL was selected by the Western Cape Education Department as part of the provincial pilot programme. The core programme framework was designed together with community stakeholders and adolescent community representatives. Selection of Adolescent Peer Educators was through a combination of self-nomination and referrals from peers. The aim of this process was to yield a diverse group of teens from all the different sub-cultures who were leaders, chosen on their shared experience with learners and making up 10-15% of the class. Training content included a diverse values based curriculum that was designed to provide skills and information needed to tackle root issues facing young people and providing a sense of vision and purpose. Personal transformation of the peer educator was realized to be the critical factor in effective peer education.Over three years, a structured and long-term programme was put in place with programme standards and clear manageable outputs for peer educators. Once the pilot was drawing to completion in 2004, the author of this paper as representative of OIL at the time, together with representatives of the seven other implementing organisations involved in the pilot, were brought together to compile their learnings and document a proposed common model for implementation from 2005 into other communities. OIL’s model and uncompromising standards of peer education were recognized for future programmes to learn from and model. Challenges for future implementers include accessing financial sustainability, community buy and combatting HIV related attitudes
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Weinig beskikbare voorkomingsprogramme is tans op die jeug en toekomstige leiers gerig. In ander lande in Suider-Arika word voorkomingsprogramme sterk op die jeug gevestig ten einde die visie van 'n Vigsvrye generasie in die toekoms te probeer verwesentlik. Hierdie studie is as 'n gevallestudie opgeskryf met sterk klem op 'n volwasse opvoedkundige model en jeugontwikkeling en 'n positiewe fokus op jong opinieleiers, as teikengroep. Die uitkomste van die program is sterk op voorkoming gerig. Die model is ontwikkel deur 'n nie-winsgewende organisasie (NGO), OIL (Reach Out Adolescent Training). Die studie beskryf die ontstaan, metodiek en implementering van OIL en beskryf sekere van die suksesse wat reeds daarmee bereik is. Die teoretiese basis van die OIL program word beskryf. Ook word die belangrikheid van deeglike voorafopleiding en die transformasie wat deur OIL bereik kan word, deeglik op skrif gestel. Die verdere verloop van die opleidingsprogram word uitgespel en voorstelle vir verdere navorsings- en ontwikkelingswerk word aan die hand gedoen.
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.
Community development -- South Africa -- Western Cape, Youth development -- South Africa -- Western Cape, Peer counseling -- South Africa -- Western Cape, Young volunteers in community development -- South Africa -- Western Cape, HIV infections -- South Africa -- Western Cape -- Prevention, Dissertations -- Industrial psychology, Theses -- Industrial psychology, Dissertations -- HIV/AIDS management, Theses -- HIV/AIDS management