Our Peer Educators go into the community in Alexandra, Soweto and Klipfontein to educate their community in HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, child abuse and many other social ills. They pass those who need personal support on to the LifeLine Lay Counsellors in all 3 LifeLine Centres.
Key to the implementation this community initiative has been the recruiting, training and supervising/supporting of a passionate and committed group of community-based emotional peer educators.
Our peer educators have an intimate knowledge of community needs and are instrumental in developing cost-effective ways of reaching large groups of clients whilst increasing community capacity to deal with presenting problems. Being community members themselves, they ensure that interventions are relevant and appropriate to the culture and the specific problems of target beneficiaries.
We conduct community dialogues and talk circles. Through this process community members address social issues that are important to them and they are empowered with our assistance to find their own solutions
As an organisation we are mindful to develop peer educators by providing additional training to increase skills and to facilitate and support personal growth and empowerment. Skills and personal development enhance the quality of service provided plus assisting in furthering careers and interests and can lead to opportunities for gainful employment
Currently LifeLine Johannesburg has 40 community peer educators who earn stipends and who support our work.
In such poor communities, it is difficult to find those who can afford to volunteer without being reimbursed for travel costs and a small fee for acknowledgement of time. Therefore we have found by experience that a stipend must be paid. All organisations using community volunteer workers in Alexandra and Soweto pay such stipends.
Reaching the Hard to Reach
Key to LifeLine’s strategic approach is ensuring that all segments of their served communities, including the hard to reach, know about services offered and know how to access such services. Vital to the delivery of this strategy are the Peer Educators who conduct weekly door to door campaigns within targeted areas. As such, LifeLine Johannesburg has an extremely diverse clientele accessing its services – from the well-heeled, to the impoverished including refugees, and even when people do not access services we can still access them through this door-to-door campaign. The fact that most of LifeLine Johannesburg’s projects are delivered by well-trained and supported volunteers sourced from communities served means that projects are delivered by people that have an intimate knowledge and understanding of the communities they serve. Because this project drives collective action vulnerable community members who feel particularly voiceless and who perhaps, for whatever reason, lack the confidence to affect individual change, will be encouraged to participate, and within the group will find their voice.
Basis for the project
All of our projects and interventions are developed from our strong counselling foundations, as are our methods of teaching, mentorship and development of people.
We believe that LifeLine Johannesburg is making a vital contribution to emotional wellness in our local communities, but we cannot do this without funding.
If you are interested in this programme contact Semoreeng Matsafu on Semoreeng@lifelinejhb.org.za