UNESCO has conducted a six-day training with 60 university students and they all graduated to become peer educators on the campus. The training was conducted from 18th to 23rd July 2022 in Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE) in Tanzania. This activity was implemented through SIDA funded project “Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3 Plus)” which is currently being implemented in seven Higher and Tertiary learning institutions in Tanzania.
Peer educators are trained students representing first year to post-graduate level who were trained to serve as the first link to available key service units in their universities. Their role will be to provide information and education to their fellow students in the areas of sexuality, HIV and AIDS, Gender-Based Violence, Relationships and Resource Management. They will also serve as referral points between the providers and their fellow students who are in need.
UNESCO oriented the training facilitators who were lecturers and service providers at the college and provided a teaching guideline manual that provides a step-by-step guide to implement delivery of quality sexuality education with HIV and Gender-Based Violence, Relationships and Resource Management through curriculum and extra-curriculum program.
This initiative was well received by DUCE management. During the opening ceremony of the training, the Deputy Principle, Dr Christina Raphael, emphasized that Peer-to-Peer education will help to make safer and better learning environment within the campus.
Coordinator of the training, Ms. Catherine Amri, from UNESCO’s O3 Plus project, mentioned that college students tend to listen more to their peers advise when it comes to the things that relates to them, this is why having peer educators will be an essential thing to have in education setting:
“Fellow students have a greater role to play in their lifestyle during college years, equipping them with correct knowledge will help cascade access of accurate information from a trusted source that will perpetuate help seeking behaviour”.
After the 6-day training, students who became peer educators were happy with what they learned and most of them explained how it will help them in their own and peers’ college life. For example, Martha Wailes a second year student, who used to struggle managing her finance (college allowance, famously known as “Boom”) but after receiving the training she has learned on some useful saving tips which will help in planning her budget, she says:
“Once I got my boom, I used to buy unnecessary stuff, am happy now I know basic saving skills which will help me consider buying only things that I need and stop being extravagancy, I will share this knowledge to my friends too”.
Martha Wailes (second right) with her fellow Peer educators during a visit to service units of their college. In the picture is Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science (third from right)
After the training, peer educators will continue to have periodical mentorship from O3 Plus cluster coordinator to strengthen their capacity in sharing accurate information in the areas of comprehensive sexuality, HIV and AIDS, Gender-Based Violence, Relationships and Resource Management. The peer educators will be a second arm to support the Directorates of Students Services (famously Dean of Students office) and of UNESCO’s O3 Plus project in higher and tertiary Institutions.