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PROJECT TOPIC: THE ROLE OF PEER EDUCATION PROGRAMME IN CREATING YOUTH AWARENESS ON SEXUAL MATTERS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

Adolescence is the time to gain individual identity and emerge sexual excitement along with rapid physical, mental, and emotional changes Dahl RE, Gunnar (2009). Puberty and sex appeal would cause teenagers to be more sensitive toward sexual subjects; therefore, they would try to find answers for their questions. The media, as a one-way informant, has also engaged teenagers’ minds with sexual matters (Refae et al 2007) and stimulates sexual behaviors. On the other hand, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among young adults could indicate lack of knowledge about risky sexual behaviors among this vulnerable population (Refae et al 2007)

Therefore, due to its importance in enhancing public health and country's social and economic growth, the necessity of sexual trainings has been proposed and confirmed as an independent subject at the international conference on population and growth in Cairo in 1994 and it has developed ever since throughout Africa (Golbasi and Taskin 2009). Although sexual trainings for teenagers, especially girls, is one of the most important educational matters that could have direct effect on long-term health enhancement and developmental programs, but parents feel ashamed to train sexual matters to their children and do not have appropriate skills for these trainings. Therefore presenting sexual training programs with regard to the context of social values and taking advantage of right opportunities, based on teenagers’ desires, is necessary (Golbasi and Taskin 2009).

Peer education is a method of promoting health- enhancing change amongst the peers in a given community through teaching or sharing health information, values and behaviours to groups that share relatively similar social backgrounds. Peer education typically is supported by community, charities, government and non-government players to drive desired change among peer groups in a given community. Peer education is increasingly being recognized as a fruitful initiative used for combating problems related to sexual behavior in the world. It has a long history in the life of mankind which dates back as far as Aristotle’s moments of 384 BC – 322 BC. The peer education programmes is conducted in a variety of contexts and in a number of different settings and situations. Joseph Lancaster in the early 1800s, in London sets a very good example by using the system known as “monitorial system” whereby teachers taught monitors who then passed on their knowledge to other children (Wagner, 1982).

In the 1960s, peer education-related projects were developed to assist disadvantaged young people in their studies (Prevention research evaluation report, 2006). Moreover, peer education has also been used in health projects aimed at seeking to reduce the incidence of smoking among young people in London (Morgan and Eiser, 1990). The same initiative was used in the field of substance misuse in London (Klee and Reid, 1995) so as to help young people who were using Amphetamine and other illegal drugs to stop.


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