The following extract is from ‘The Substance Use Peer Education Responses Manual’, compiled by Bernie Roe, linked here: https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/3705/1/1833-1768.pdf
Youth Peer Education is based on the belief that young people are the ones best equipped to inform, challenge and relate to other young people.
This type of Youth Peer Training has a valuable role to play in the health education of young people. It is not an alternative. It is an enhancement, so therefore it can work alongside and compliment other forms of youth work and health education.
The peer group is an important source of support and a place where standards begin to develop so working with Peer Educators means using the positive aspects of this process.
The Youth Peer Education concept makes positive use of potential peer influence, it is an approach which empowers young people to work with other young people and which draws on the positive strength of the peer group. This form of education encourages young people to place more emphasis on their own thoughts and decisions.
Youth Peer Education promotes personal growth and new skills for many young people that will assist them in all areas of their lives.
Peer Education can be an innovative way of breaking down barriers between adults and young people because in the process adults must be prepared to acknowledge the power and skills of young people and allow them to take control and make decisions.
YOUTH PEER EDUCATION SHOULD
- promote self-confidence,
- identify limits and rituals,
- recognise young people as a valuable resource,
- promote democratic development,
- help the competence of young people
- be voluntary and respect personal responsibility,
- involve all participants in planning and facilitate joint ownership of project,
- show clear roles and goals,
- be supported and evaluated.