This is not an easy question to answer and is, no doubt an extremely complicated issue that cannot be answered adequately in a few lines. However, from my 10 years of experience in working with and designing programmes for peer educators, I would like to express my personal opinion and some of the thoughts shared by peer educators:
- Insufficient time and opportunities for peer educators to address colleagues in any formal way.
- Production times and targets are obviously prioritized as the main focus of business and enthusiastic peer educators do feel a measure of frustration in trying to fulfill their role within these limitations;
- Traditionally there are very few ( if any) white peer educators from clerical, administration and management levels;
- Lack of clear direction and support from management;
- Insufficient initial training, refresher training or mentorship;
- Little debriefing for peer educators, who are at the coalface of the epidemic and often find themselves dealing with highly complex and emotionally draining situations.
- This list is by no means exhaustive.
In my humble opinion (or maybe not so humble!), all of the above mentioned issues do severely impact of the effectiveness of any peer educator programme and many peer educators become de-motivated and in the end become inactive. In some circles this has sadly been interpreted by companies as a failure of the peer educator programme per se. It is felt that the fault lies solely with peer educators, while overlooking some of the above contextual issues which could be found wanting.
Posted by Stella Heuer 4 June 2013