Peer to Peer as a way to share knowledge and skills!


I want to share with us one of our Projects:

From Infojove -Balearic Islands- we're going to implement an education program called "Peer to Peer":
We have a Youth Health Service with health professionals that will train older students, givim then information about health that can be interested to young people: drugs, HIV/AIDS, sexual health, generic violence, sexual identity...
Then the students will share their new knowledges with younger students.
We think Peer Education Programmes have lots of advantages; for example, young people use to see older students as a referent so information is well received...
This programmes could be implemented next year in different educational centers in Mallorca...
What do you think about it?


peer to peer

Indeed, peer-to-peer can be a efficient method to bring information to young people. But, this information is often connected to values and standards and therefore subjective. Especially on topics like sex, drugs,... These are often connected to youth life and tabou for adults. So the risk is that adults, educators, health experts will try to use young people to spread their ideas towards young people when they experience the youth doesn't accept their own normative messages. . If the peer workers are to much "brainwashed" or just used as a tool by the peer coaches they might find themselves not convincing and their "adult-defined-messages" not accepted by young people and could even feel rejected as a person. So, I think peer-to-peer education shoud be a real kind of youth participation, where the peer workers are also actors in defining the goals, messages, aproaches,... The message is: take young people serious and see them as an actor, not only a medium.
Then peer-to-peer work can be verry effective. On top, if you see it as a two way communication the peer workers will connect you better to youth live if they can tell you how young people respond, what they expect (also from you as a centre, a YI worker,...), what they care, and what not, what kind of behavoiur is "hot", what kind of prejedices are running arround,.... It can only bring better quality to our work if we see our peer workers as partners in our work.

I have been running a work shop recently in Rotterdam at the ERYICA seminar, parallel with the General Assembly. I'm writing a contribution to the ERYICA/Council of Europe brochure "State of the art in Youth INformation", to be published in 2010.. Al this is based on experiences in our 15 year running peer-to-peer program "Young Advisors" in Flanders. You can find our manual at - or that should be (Eryica changed communication staff recently) If it is not there yet, just give a call

Johan Bertels, In Petto

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