Peer education has become a new and a very popular concept especially after the importance of involving young people in HIV/AIDS prevention was understood. It is based on the reality that many people make changes not only based on what they know, but on the opinions and actions of their close, trusted peers. Worldwide, peer education is one of the most widely used strategies to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The term ‘peer’ means ‘one that is of equal standing with another; one belonging to the same societal group especially based on age, grade or status’. ‘Education refers to ‘teaching or the training of mind and character’. ‘Peer education’ can be defined as ‘the use of members of a given group to affect change among other members of the same group’. It is often used to effect change at the individual level by attempting to modify a person’s knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. However, peer education may also effect change at the group or societal level by modifying norms and stimulating collective action that leads to changes in programs and policies. It is not only used among young people but also for example among sex workers and men in uniform.
Peer groups have in common that they are in the same age group. They share the same concerns and problems because they are colleagues. Therefore they also have the same social interest. Peer education is appropriate for delivering a culturally sensitive message like safer sex. This message will be accepted more easily by the target group as they use the same language. It will initiate behavioral change through various well-known behavioral theories. Finally it is cost-effective as peer educators provide a large service with a small cost.
Quelques liens utiles en françaishttp://www.ccisd.org/fra/f_documents/S3_formation_ts_apcom.pdf : Ce lien donne plus d’information sur la Formation des organismes-relais et des pairs éducateurs et éducatrices en matière d’IST/SIDA. Ce manuel IEC/CCC du projet appui à la lutte contre le SIDA en Afrique de l’Ouest donne un appui à la participation communautaire.