Picture Perfect: In January 2014, a passionate group of young people embarked on a transformative mission to revolutionise the lives of young people. Their goal was to empower young people, particularly those who were out of school and aged between 18 and 24 years, by providing them with vital knowledge and skills concerning Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) and other essential life skills. This passion paved the way for the birth of the Peer Educators Academy. It wasn’t just about Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) education for them; it was about something bigger, unleashing the power within each young person and fostering personal growth while making a difference in their peers’ lives. It’s been 10 beautiful years of the academy and here is a step-by-step of that journey….
Setting The Stage: The selection-The academy starts by inviting young people aged 18-24 to enrol through a peer call popularised on all our various social media platforms. This mentorship program spans over one year and commences with an immersive peer academy class session held throughout the month of January. Once the applications are received, we meticulously evaluate them for a week, selecting the most suitable candidates to participate in the month-long training.
From Strengths to Collaborations- During this training period, we bring in facilitators from diverse fields to engage the participants on a wide range of topics. These sessions cover areas such as body changes, personal and career growth, financial management, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and overall well-being. The intensive one-month training allows us to become acquainted with the peer educators, identify their individual strengths and weaknesses, and foster a sense of belonging among them, promoting effective teamwork and collaboration.
Graduation & Beyond- Following graduation from the Peer Educator’s Academy, we embark on an 11-month journey with the peer educators, actively involving them in our programs throughout the country. We carefully assign them roles within these programs based on their individual strengths and preferences. They have the freedom to choose their areas of focus, whether it be strategic communications, advocacy, or film and television.
Nurturing Agents Of Change- We prioritize their personal growth and development by creating an environment that fosters learning. We provide opportunities for networking and expanding their horizons, allowing them to establish valuable connections. Throughout this period, we encourage their continuous growth, both professionally and personally, as they navigate their chosen fields and contribute to our initiatives.
The Power of the Peer-To-Peer -RAHU actively involves these peer educators in in-school activities, assigning each of them to a specific school. Their primary responsibility is to conduct weekly peer learning sessions, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability. By imparting the knowledge gained from the academy, they play a vital role in educating their fellow peers within schools and universities. This process builds a strong connection and responsibility among the peer educators.
Creating A Ripple Effect- The peer educators actively participate in community outreach initiatives. Through these engagements, they have the opportunity to share information and knowledge with their peers within the community. This peer-to-peer approach has proven to be highly effective, as young people tend to listen attentively and openly to their peers. The absence of judgement or misunderstanding allows for a more receptive and impactful communication process. Through the peer academy model, we have come to understand the power of the peer-to-peer approach, recognizing its effectiveness in facilitating meaningful connections and fostering a conducive environment for knowledge exchange among young people.
Keeping The Candle Burning- Through the Peer Educators Academy, we strongly believe that participants will not only gain valuable information on SRHR but also develop a range of transferable work-related skills. These skills encompass effective communication, impactful presentation abilities, advising and counselling expertise, and invaluable experiences in leadership and teamwork. Our intention is to foster these skills among peer educators, recognizing their potential for creating a multiplier effect. We firmly believe that these young people will pass on their acquired knowledge and skills to other young people, thereby enabling them to make well-informed life choices. This ripple effect holds the power to positively impact the lives of many, as peer educators become agents of change within their communities. 10 years ago, It was a mission fueled by the belief that empowered and knowledgeable youth could make a significant impact on their peers’ lives, amplifying positive change within their communities and it still stands.
To all the alumni of this academy, we are proud of you. We’re eager to hear your stories, experiences, and reflections on your time at the academy and as a peer educator. What moments stood out the most for you and why would you recommend this academy to other young people? Leave your comments below or email us at email@example.com.