Harvard Peer Education Systems
Settings & Audiences for Peer Education
Work places are a key place for reaching adults with health promotion messages. Trained peer educators can engage colleagues — and in some cases, clients — in critical discussions on topics such as health and parenting skills. Moreover, the training provided to peer educators in the work place extends beyond this setting to the other settings where these individuals may hold somewhat prominent roles. Indeed, field experience has shown that people who are active in the work place also tend to be active in other areas, such as their places of worship, for example.
Adequate support structures for peer educators and appropriate delivery structures for sessions are particularly important for ensuring rigorous peer education practice in the workplace. Research has shown that peer educators in the workplace tend to be overwhelmed by colleagues' expectations, and under-supported by management. Inadequate support from management can take the form of insufficient training, lack of opportunities for delivering group peer education in the workplace, or lack of opportunities for peer educators to debrief their experiences with a supervisor, among others.
Creative approaches to peer education delivery, such as the use of natural, informal, small group opportunities(NISGOs), combined with engaged collaboration with management structures can begin to address some of these shortcomings.