Youth Peer Training Programme Launches

The City of Cape Town has launched a youth peer leader training programme to enable young people to effect social change

The first programme ran in late December 2008 and will be followed be three more in 2009. Together they form part of a series of such initiatives that will operate within different communities each time and end in December 2012.

Three ‘coaches’ trained 36 participants from the greater Cape Town area to be positive role models for young people, so as to provide them with healthy alternatives to violence, drugs and gangsterism.

Participants learned how to become catalysts for change using sport as a tool to model positive social behaviour.

By engaging their peers in sporting activities, the newly trained peer leaders will teach them about vital life skills such as how to resolve conflicts, make decisions, solve problems, set goals, manage projects.

This will in turn build self esteem and foster teambuilding. Participants were also encouraged to develop their leadership skills, so as to apply these in their personal lives and school and work related activities. They were also given tuition in basic administration so as to be able to start and administer clubs or social groups.

At the end of the training period, participants were given basic sport equipment to implement the social change projects they developed whilst on the course. They will run these in their communities during school holidays and over week-ends. All projects will be monitored and evaluated to determine whether assistance is necessary.

Peer leadership is regarded as a useful strategy in effecting social change. Peer leaders are able to connect with young people at their own level and share experiences in a less threatening environment than the traditional adult-adolescent mentorship or teacher model.

They can exert a powerful influence on other young people’s attitudes and behaviours and create the conditions for positive social change.

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