Peers are people who are alike in certain aspects (age, gender, language, work
Peer education utilises the influence peers can have on one another. With HIV
intervention this entails peers educating their colleagues on HIV in such a way that
brings about both attitudinal and behaviour change, on both the individual and community
Peer education is an informal style of educating where the peer and not the outside
professional is used to bring about change. Peer education utilises participatory and
communication based learning methods. It is cost effective and culturally appropriate.
What do HIV peer educators do?
Peer education involves many activities, which include:
To organise and present educational sessions
To conduct informal individual and small group discussions on HIV/AIDS and related
To facilitate video screenings and discussions around issues raised
To develop their own material used for their information sessions
To plan and evaluate all information sessions
To have good record keeping skills
To motivate attitudinal and behaviour change amongst their peers
To provide support to their peers
To refer their peers for VCT (testing) and adjunct counselling services, if necessary
To encourage their peers to know their HIV status and to be a source of support if they
go through the testing process
To have knowledge of the workplace policy to
educate their peers on their rights within the workplace
To provide detailed information to their peers on safer sexual practices
Qualities peer educators need to have:
Eagerness to work with HIV and behaviour change
Show respect and caring toward HIV positive people
PEER EDUCATION TRAINING TOPICS (WHAT TO COVER):
Trainers should work with peer educators in such a way that enables them to engage in
self-evaluation, to know the basic facts around HIV, STI's and TB as well as be able to
communicate well and plan training materials and events.
The following is a guide to topics that could be included in a peer education-training
Introduction and ground work:
To dispel myths & to investigate the attitudes
we hold toward HIV and AIDS and the people who are infected / affected by HIV.
To understand what peer education is and to know the roles a
peer educator is expected to fulfill.
To know the qualities of a good peer educator
Know the epidemiology of HIV/ AIDS, the implications
of HIV/AIDS and the history of the disease.
Differentiate between HIV and AIDS
Describe how HIV can be transmitted and how HIV cannot
Understand basic immune functioning and to know how HIV attacks the immune
Understand the progression (stages) of the disease
Explain STI's and the link between HIV and STI's
Explain TB and the link between HIV and TB
Understand basic antiretrovirals (ARV's)
Discuss prevention methods
Demonstrate how to use male & female condoms
Understand behaviour change and negotiation skills
Demonstrate knowledge of the voluntary counselling and testing process (VCT)
Describe and explore positive living with regards to someone
who is HIV positive
Describe home-care for people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS
Demonstrate knowledge of HIV/AIDS and the law
Explain their organisations workplace policy
Understand and demonstrate facilitation skills
Understand different facilitation methods
Demonstrate and know about working with different materials
Understand adult learning principles
Demonstrate competence with the planning of interventions, as
well as implementation and evaluation skills
Understand and demonstrate basic communication skills
Explain available referrals and resources
Understand stress management techniques
HOW TO CHOOSE PEER EDUCATORS
In-house selection is usually how peer educators are chosen. A request for volunteers
is usually made and the company needs to look out for people who have demonstrated
initiative in the past, people who are committed to their work and to the idea of HIV
education. They also need to volunteer for the role as peer educator. Companies could also
arrange for outside organisations to evaluate prospective candidates for the role.
Selectors need to bear in mind that peer educators need to possess most of the following
qualities in order to effectively meet the role of peer educator:
Eagerness to work with HIV and behaviour change
Show respect and caring toward HIV positive people
Accepted + respected by their peers
They should be able to communicate well and persuasively with others
Good interpersonal skills, including listening skills and empathy
Time and energy
Think about how many peer educators you want to recruit and train Þ
recruit and train more than you need as some may drop out of the programme over time.
People living with
HIV or AIDS often make for insightful and sensitive peer educators
workers are often effective peer educators
HR personnel are
good to have on the training, as they are often good at maintaining and updating the peer
HOW TO SUSTAIN THE PEER EDUCATION PROGRAMMES
The organisation can put certain activities in place in order to ensure that the peer
education programme is sustained. The activities needed include:
Follow-up training may be needed in order to gain additional
skills or if new developments or information in the field become available. It may also be
a good idea to just refresh skills after a period of time working in the field
Regular meetings for all peer educators and HR (if possible), where
educators can discuss information sessions in terms of what worked, what educators could
do differently, any new material or developments within the field can be shared, training
techniques are discussed as well as any personal difficulties
Besides all peer educators being responsible for keeping up to date with HIV/AIDS
information, it is important to have an appointed person who is able to
monitor and implement new HIV/AIDS information (this role is usually undertaken by HR)
Providing both monetary incentives and non-monetary incentives
(e.g., T-shirts, ribbons, materials etc.) has been shown to act as a means of
motivation for peers
Providing peers with their own educational materials, such as a
flipcharts or posters etc
Referral resources set-up
Special activities just for fun to ensure motivation and stress
Links and support from other community based organisations or
Opportunities for experienced peer educators to teach and/or mentor
Mentoring / Supervision:
Working in the field of HIV/AIDS and generally acting as a care-giver puts
enormous emotional strain on a person. It is therefore recommended that Peer Educators
receive mentoring every second or third month in order to deal with their experiences and
emotional responses. Mentoring and supervision also allow for update information and
The mentorship or supervision would usually involve the following methods:
Group discussions of difficult experiences and possible coping techniques
One - on -one discussions
Observation and evaluation of training and basic communication / counselling skills
The success of your peer
education programme is often reliant on the fact that your organisation provides support
and good mentorship.
WHAT TMS OFFERS
HIV/AIDS Tailor-Made Services (TMS) offers comprehensive peer education training
courses as well as support / follow-up management of your peer education programme.
Our company provides services related to:
Peer educator courses:
Tailor-Made Services (TMS) offers:
2-Day Peer Educator Information
Course (Information only)
5-Day Comprehensive Peer Educator Course
(Information, communication + counselling skills)
1-Day Communication and Basic Counselling Skills
Workshop (Only communication + counselling skills, for peer educators who
only received the information section in previous training)
Research has shown that a more comprehensive course is beneficial as the peer educator
learns added skills that are needed for a successful peer education programme. In the past
peer education programmes focused on the information component alone and the educators
where given no basic counselling / communication skills. These skills have proven to be
essential in that they equip the peer educator to deal with concerns and possible
counselling issues that may arise either from their status as peer educator or from the
information discussed during their information sessions.
Selection of peers:
We will help with the selection process of identified or volunteer peer educators
by interviewing them to access their personal characteristics or we could provide your
organisation with the interview checklist for in-house interviewing of possible
HIV/AIDS TMS will update educators on the latest developments within the field
and any new training materials available.
We offer mentoring to the peer educators and individual counselling for
HIV positive people.
We also offer stress management workshops to help peer educators deal with the
difficulties of HIV/AIDS related work specifically and care-giving generally.
We offer organisations an extensive referral network. We can help organisations
to create links and build relationships with community based organisations.
We will distribute literature, pamphlets and posters.
Supervision / Mentoring:
Mentoring of peer educators every 2-4 months is offered whereby educators are able to
get new material, discuss case management issues, general programme and educational
concerns as well as any personal concerns with a member of our team.
We offer pre-and post-test counselling on site. We offer confidential, ongoing
counselling sessions for HIV Positive people by registered psychologists (on or off site).
We also offer general counselling for employees around any issue that may be interfering
with work performance or the person's general well being (off or onsite).
We offer onsite VCT with professional pre-and post-test
counselling. Professional nurses will perform the tests and rapid tests will be used
so the results will be available on the same day. We will keep confidential results and a
report will be written regarding general findings from the VCT undertaken.
Free condoms for small to medium businesses will be made available.