Report from Fiona Black (continuing):
The quantitative impact of this programme is hard to measure. As knowledge is disseminated through peer-to-peer networks, it will continue to reach a wider audience than those in the classroom. This generates a generation of young people who gain an active voice in their communities, influencing decisions which impact them. The programme gives young people a purpose, reducing school drop out rates. It also influences negative behaviour choices, leading to a reduction in crime and HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.
The personal impact of this programme is most evident in the case studies that Sandile provided us with. Previously disempowered youth find confidence in their own abilities and are given hope for the future. Other individuals have developed new skills and have improved their chances of finding employment. I will share some of these stories as they illustrate so well how valuable the programme is and the change it brings to individuals’ lives.
We were invited to one of the sessions held as Sakhile school (shown in the photograph). Led by two of the Peer Facilitators, Numathamsanqa and Tricia, the session was held in the school yard due to a problem with classroom availability. The facilitators began with an ice breaker and the rest of the session was on the topic of setting SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed. Numathamsanqa and Tricia both empowered young people with the tools and the motivation to set goals for their lives. They asked some of the young people to say what some of the barriers might be to reaching these goals and how these barriers could be overcome. It was incredible to see how engaging the facilitators were and how they held all the young people’s attention without any technology, without any materials and no resources – just their own voices communicating to their peers.