Peer Education in Humanitarian Setting

By: Anzaira Roxas, FPOP/Y-PEER Pilipinas

On January 23 – 27 2012, a Training of Trainers on Peer Education in Humanitarian Response was held at Philtown Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City.  It was participated in by a total of 30 youth  between the ages 15 – 24.  Half of the participants  (15) came from Iligan City and the other half,  from FPOP’s youth volunteers in Cagayan de Oro City.  Six of the participants were displaced young people staying in the Evacuation Centre. Gender balance and age diversity of participants were ensured.

The main objective of the training was to build competencies among the participants on how to design and deliver high quality, peer-based, adolescent sexual and reproductive health education programs. As earlier mentioned, the training was based on the Y-PEER manual ‘Peer Education on Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings’ developed by UNFPA’s Arab States Regional Office.

The manual, which is currently being finalized for publication, has been field-tested on two different occasions.  The first one was done in the refugee camp of Choucha at the Tunisian/Libyan border on July 20.  Participants of the training were young refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Darfur who fled Libya during the turmoil.

After the training, Tunisia CO and local NGOs started implementing a peer education programme covering this camp as well as the urban Libyan refugees that settled in the border-crossing neighboring villages. The second field-testing was done in Hargeisa, Somaliland in December 2011. Participants were trained peer educators who were already active in organizations belonging to the Y-PEER network.

The training provided inputs on skills-based health education and related peer-led health education interactive methodologies, key issues related to ASRH and challenges faced by young people in humanitarian settings, interpersonal and group communication skills including basic skills on conflict resolution and positive attitudes abilities to partner with young people and adults.

In addition, the training discussed with the participants on how to sustain the peer education program in the area. This meant getting the confirmation and commitment of the participants to make themselves available on activities or responses concerning ARHR. The trainers were UNFPA’s  Emee Lei Albano and Y-PEER ‘s Mario Balibago, Anzaira Roxas and  Monaifah Basir of ICARE (a member of Y-PEER).

The conduct of the training influenced key players (NGAs, NGOs, Clusters) in the ongoing humanitarian response to consider and to ensure that adolescents and young people are prioritized in the interventions and are mobilized as valuable support to the humanitarian initiatives. “Young people as valuable human resource supporting various programs” was demonstrated in the initial phase of the response and continue to be a significant contribution in the ongoing humanitarian response. Mobilization of displaced youth in the evacuation centers have started after the training.

The spirit of peer educators promoting team work, togetherness, hardwork and selflessness have began to influence the lives of those affected by the disaster.