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255 peer educators empowered to empower others in Tanzania

Lilian Marandu, Peer Educator, Dar es Salaam University College of Education

UNESCO through “Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Plus” project currently being implemented in sixteen (16) Higher & Tertiary Education Institutions (HTEIs) including Dar es Salaam University main campus (Mlimani), conducted a six days training to 80 university students who will become Peer health educators, for the Provider’s led peer assisted program.

Peer educators are trained to support other students as first link to available key service units on their campus. Their role is to provide information and education to their fellow students in the areas of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), HIV, Gender-Based Violence, Relationships and Resource Management. They will also serve as referral points between service providers and their fellow students who are in need.

"Young people tend to trust their age mates when exchanging information, hence UNESCO uses this initiative to support access to accurate Information and referral to specialized care within campuses", Catherine Amri, Dar Es Salaam Cluster Coordinator, O3 Plus

UNESCO has given orientation to facilitators who are lecturers and service providers at Higher Learning Institutions and provided a teaching guideline manual that provides a step-by-step guide to implement delivery of good quality SRH, HIV, GBV, Relationships and Resource Management education through curriculum and extra-curriculum programs. Participating students (Peer educators) are being empowered to serve as a bridge between students seeking support, and service points. To date, 255 peer educators from 6 Higher Learning Institutions have been trained.

"I used to have myth and misconception concerning menstrual hygiene management, now I am happy to have gained knowledge that will help me and my friends thanks to UNESCO’s training on sexual and reproductive health", Martha Herman, First year Student

Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Plus project aims to ensure Young people in higher and tertiary education institutions in Tanzania realise positive health, education and gender equality outcomes, through sustained reduction in new HIV infections, early and unintended pregnancy, and gender-based violence, enabling them to reach their full educational potential and contribute more effectively to the development of their country and region as graduates, professionals, and young leaders.

"O3 Plus has helped me build confidence and courage, I can stand in front of people and share my opinion and contribute to topics related to youths life, I have gained a spirit to devote myself more to my studies and work hard toward achieving my education goals, now I have become more helpful to my classmates and friends by being able to give them the right information on where to go to if they encounter social, health & academic challenges and need anything here in campus", Lilian Marandu, Peer Educator, Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE)

UNESCO’ O3 Plus project has established providers’-led, peer-assisted program in 6 Higher Learning Institutions campuses across Tanzania that aims to provide learners with appropriate knowledge and skills on matters related to Adolescence and Sexuality; Reproductive Health and Rights, STIs and HIV; Relationships; Gender-Based Violence; and Resource Management. The program has reached over 2000 learners to date.

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