On one level, the fact that people belonging to the same peer group (defined by age, class, gender, or any other social construct) communicate best with each other is simple common sense. That people who share a similar economic, social, linguistic, cultural background or indeed lifestyle, should be able to understand each other is quite natural.
Peer education is about training and equipping young people to give a message to their peers. Peer education teaches the young people valuable transferable skills in:
- Managing groups and discussion
- Listening and feedback
- Greater awareness of their attitudes and values and how this impacts others
- Organisation and planning
- Problem solving and using effective strategies
- Team working
UNESCO – the leaders in best-practice sexuality education – defines Peer Education in the following way:
A ‘peer’ is one that is of equal standing with another; one belonging to the same societal group especially based on age, grade, or status. The term ‘peer education’ would indicate a process whereby those of the same societal group or social standing are educating each other
Advocates For Youth explain how peer education can have a positive influence on young people:
Peer education draws on the credibility that young people have with their peers, leverages the power of role modelling, and provides flexibility in meeting the diverse needs of today’s youth. Peer education can support young people in developing positive group norms and in making healthy decisions about sex.