Questions to ask about your peer educators

  • Have your peer educators been adequately selected?
  • Do you need to weed out inactive ones and select volunteers who are passionate and committed? (Why waste money training people who are unsuitable?)
  • Do you have a Code of Ethics for peer educators to hold themselves to?
  • Do you monitor the activities of your peer educators so as to provide evidence of their activity levels and accomplishments?
  • Do you have a person, who is sufficiently “high up” in the organisation and also passionate about the peer education programme to coordinate their activities and champion their cause?
  • Have your peer educators been adequately trained?  In my experience this training has often lacked substance and focus is often on soft issues such as facilitation skills, a few basics on HIV and condoms, rather than laying an adequate subject knowledge foundation.  (For example – my pet peeve is that I have yet to go into a company where peer educators know that the virus multiplies in the body within 2.6 days!   This should be on billboards given the fact that we in South Africa are the Rape Capital of the world…)
  • If your peer educators were trained, how long ago and are they up to date with current research and standards of care and treatment?
  • Are your peer educators growing to fulfill the current trend of moving into the role of “Wellness Stewards”, addressing health and psychosocial issues that impact on employee’s quality of life?
  • What tools or materials do your peer educators have so that they can adequately educate their colleagues, families and communities? (I am often amazed that peer educators have very little resources – and are therefore as effective as builder with no equipment or tools – only his bare hands!).

Posted by Stella Heuer – 4 June 2013