The sexual reproductive health peer educator program is ongoing in Zanzibar, and is carried out by YCI’s local partner Zanzibar Youth Forum. The structure of this program is to train groups of young adults on sexual reproductive health and empower them to become leaders and educators in their own communities, where they carry out workshops on SRH topics with their peer groups. The goal for our two-week project was to evaluate the current state of the SRH program by meeting with several groups of peer educators. In meeting with them, we hoped to learn more about the work they’re doing, the challenges they face, the efficacy of the program, and the resources needed to make this program as effective as possible.
When we met with the peer educators, we were surprised to find that the program was not at the stage we had expected – none of the peer educators had access to the SRH manual written by YCI volunteers, and many were not yet at the stage of carrying out workshops in their communities. In our conversations, we learned about the many challenges faced by those wishing to talk about sexual reproductive health in Zanzibar – from cultural and religious taboos, to family disapproval, to lack of resources and effective teaching materials. Despite all these challenges, the peer educators continue to pursue SRH education. They are an incredible group of passionate, hard-working and driven young adults, who are adamant about the importance of increasing SRH education in their communities. I felt honoured to talk to them, and to learn more about their lives.
During the course of this project, I was able to interview a few of these peer educators on camera, and had them share their personal reasons for being part of this program. I learned so much from speaking with them, and want to share some of their perspectives here.
Balkis is an outspoken advocate of education. She is a strong leader, and is passionate about the need for increased dialogue about SRH in Zanzibar.
Muslih is a talented and creative educator, who has been working hard to start conversations about SRH in his community.