Handbook for men who have sex with men (MSM) and female sex workers (FSW) peer educators training: from the "discovering the person inside me" workshop in Lima, Peru
Issues: While work with members of vulnerable populations as peer educators is considered a priority, appropriate participatory training approaches and materials are unavailable.
Description: During 2006 workshops with MSM and FSW community representatives were conducted, in separate groups, to test the usefulness of a training handbook. Issues covered included self-esteem, communication, decision-making and self-control, sexuality, sexual health and sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, sexual/reproductive rights, discrimination and stigma, and life project. This program is based on experiential and participatory methodology, as well as principles of adult education, adapted for work with vulnerable populations:
1) Active participation increases the ability to retain and learn,
2) encouragement and reinforcement promotes learning, and
3) Independent learning generates confidence and security in participants.
As for MSM participants, it included members with different sexual identities (gay, transgender, bisexual, etc.) since this helped them to relate each other. The workshop convened participants who are directly involved with health and wellbeing promotion. The dynamics used in the workshop have the potential to deliver knowledge to all attendants regardless of background. The final product, the handbook, is not aimed to train experts but at providing information to develop applicable skills in their daily work with MSM and FSW peers.
Lessons learned: According to post workshop evaluations, the program was effective and well-received by participants: 89% of them adequately answered questions related to topics covered. Participants stated that dynamics and exercises used help them to remember the issues addressed. Above all, they could talk more about personal experiences and gained skills according to post-workshop structured interviews. 90% of participants stated the handbook and workshop’s objectives were accomplished.
Next steps: We are planning to edit the final version of the handbook for MSM and FSW peer educators using workshops feedback, and support past attendants in replicating the workshops with their peers.
-Abstract available at link below-