It all began when we participated Training of Trainers then we started to organise local peer education sessions. After several years have passed in Reproductive Health Peer Education Project (RHPEP) one of our contacts told us that they will find a new association and they would like to attend trainings we conduct. We were so happy to get this request as Y-PEERs because they could be our new partner. So we get the party started –I mean we started preparations of the training. A group of four young people was set to go to Eskişehir for the training.
Some of you may know about peer education but let me say few words for others. It is basically ‘youth shares information with their peers in context of its standards by using informal education methods’. As Y-PEER was founded by UNFPA it has developed several materials to be used for Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights field, they are being studied in every education we attend. For example there is an e-learning material called Cyber Peer which is an online education platform for youth aged between 17-24 that is about sexual health topics covers sexual rights, adolescence, FAQ, self-examination, contraceptive methods, STI, HIV/AIDS and condom. You can Google it to learn more.
Day one, we started the training explaining what peer education and its methods are. Topics of the first day were ‘station of youth and their rights in Turkey’, adolescence, FAQ about sexual health and ‘testicle & breast self examination’. We talk about international conventions, current statistical station of youth in the country, definition of adolescence and its significant challenges; we try to answer some of the most worried questions about sexual and reproductive health and try to replace wrong learning with the right one then we share information about importance of periodical self examination. For informal techniques it can be said that they are informative and enjoyable at the same time. Some of informal techniques we use are energizers and practice sessions. Between every session there is an energizer in order to motivate participants and fill their energy up so that they can focus better. When it was coffee time we saw participants trying to do energizers together and enjoying it so much! It is always a pleasure to work with young groups first because they are our peers and second they are one of the most vulnerable groups.
We opened second day with evaluating the first day with participants and we experienced our best moment there. Because one of the female participants told that last night she visited her uncle and she taught him how to do testicle self-examine; listening her story and seeing her enthusiasm lifted us in the very beginning of the day. Following sessions were contraceptive methods (used by both woman and man), STI (sexually transmitted infections), ‘HIV/AIDS’ and condom.
Before we close the training, every single participant asked how to involve in this process to empower young people like we do, how to be a Y-PEER, how to be a peer educator, how to deliver their messages to stakeholders etc. It was so great to see outputs of what we did quickly. We’ve been to Eskişehir to develop capacity however at the end of two days we realized that we have co-workers there. As Youth Voice Campaign says itself, our voice needs to be heard for ourselves.
Dear fellows, we need cooperation both youth-youth and youth-adult, we need young people involved the most!