Peer Education Kabarole (PEK) is a school-based peer education program operating as a community-based organization in the Kabarole District, western Uganda. The program aims to improve students’ reproductive health by using student peer educators to provide information on topics such as HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy and relationships, and in doing so, equip students with the ability to make decisive choices that position them for long and healthy lives.
PEK originated through a research collaboration between students in Ugandan secondary schools and the School of Public Health, University of Alberta which led to the formation of school-based clubs to help students gain better sexual health knowledge and avoid the common health and social problems facing Ugandan adolescents. In early 2008 the initiative became formalized as Peer Education Kabarole. It presently operates in 15 secondary schools and seven primary schools within the district.
Under the approval of each school’s administration, the peer educators organize themselves within their school as a club. Student leaders are elected and one or more teachers act as a resource and overseer to the peer educators. PEK equips peer educators with knowledge and skills through training activities at the schools, an annual district-wide workshop and print materials, and by facilitating access to other information resources within the community. Peer educators engage with their peers using a variety of educative activities (such as dramas, songs, posters and debates) and counseling support services.
Objectives of Peer Education Kabarole:
The overall objective of Peer Education Kabarole is to use peer education methods to provide relevant and reliable health information to the youth of Kabarole District, Uganda, positively supporting and empowering them to make decisions that protect their reproductive health and overall well-being.
The specific objectives of Peer Education Kabarole are as follows:
- To provide training on reproductive health topics to peer educators and, through this training, facilitate reproductive health knowledge dissemination to their peers;
- To use information dissemination strategies that Kabarole youth consider engaging and effective;
- To provide Kabarole youth with health information and counseling that is scientifically-based while also anticipating their needs and meeting their needs;
- To encourage Kabarole District youth through education and awareness to take responsibility for their health and make health-promoting decisions regarding their reproductive health;
- To engage in partnerships to support activities that are relevant to the program’s objectives and are of benefit to partners.