Looking out for one another: Peer education, HIV and AIDS and South African Campuses. HEAIDS: peer education project report May 2006

Programme Reports & Evaluations
49 p.

The report begins by explaining the way peer education has been promoted and supported through the Higher Education HIV/AIDS (HEAIDS) programme in South Africa. A working group was established with the aim of capacity building existing peer education programmes and establishing programmes where they did not exist. To this end a number of regional and national workshops have been held and pilot projects established. This is detailed in Section Two of this report.##This report includes a discussion of the background, structure, aims and objectives of these programmes, as well as information on programme activities and training curricula. The approach to establishing and managing peer education programmes has varied in the higher education sector. For example, the Student HIV/AIDS Resistance Programme (SHARP) is the flagship project of the University HIV/AIDS Unit at the University of Cape Town. Launched in 1994, SHARP was the first peer education programme at a South African higher education institution. At the University of Pretoria the peer education programme is housed in the Centre for the Study of AIDS. Other peer education programmes are housed in student support services and counselling units and are part of campus wellness programmes.##When undertaking a peer education programme, the overall goal is to develop and support recommended behaviour or to change risky behaviour. In this context it is important to know why and how people adapt to new behaviour. The fields of psychology, heath education and health communication provide relevant behavioural theories and models that explain this process. They provide a rationale for introducing and supporting peer education programmes and a basis for evaluating them. Section Three of this report deals with relevant theories and how they can be used to inform the planning and designing of peer education interventions. ##Section Four deals with peer education in practice. The activities of peer educators vary considerably on different campuses. Successful peer education programmes include organised and monitored activities as well as informal discussions between students. The use of drama, videos and computer games are effective tools for peer educators. Best practice workshops include the use of interactive techniques such as brain-storming, role-playing and the telling of personal stories. Events such as memorial services, bashes, launches and Open Days are popular on higher education campuses and provide an appropriate background for activities such as face-to-face communication, lay counselling and workshops. Peer education programmes need to be firmly embedded in an overall HIV/AIDS strategic plan and supported by policy that is endorsed and supported by the entire institution.##In Section Five, questions relating to evaluation are addressed. A workshop dealing specifically with evaluation was held at the University of Pretoria and the outcomes of this workshop and a follow-up workshop are detailed in this chapter and in Section Six. The final chapter contains recommendations from the sector for further support for peer education on higher education campuses.

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