7 days in Berlin, 22 participants coming from 6 different countries, 7 organizations, and one aim: exchange creative methods to make young people sensitive to human rights issues, thanks to the concept of the “peer education”. That was the topic of the last Training Course organized by Epiz (Berlin) and Citizens of Europe.
Participants came from Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Turkey with a common specificity: they are “peer educators”.
The concept of “Peer educators”
Peer-education in the field of youth work is an approach whereby well-trained and motivated young people act as multipliers among their peers and/or younger target groups. Epiz and Citizens of Europe believe this is a sustainable way to empower young people to become active citizens in public and community life. In other words: the “educator” shares a similar lifestyle with the “educated” (age, background, social level, etc). For example, a student can teach another student about something (s)he knows and likes. Parents can exchange educational approaches on sexuality and youth culture with their neighbors.
Peer education borrows some characteristics of non formality and informality. The framework “superior”/”inferior” disappears and lets space to exchange and to reciprocity. We can apply that to Human Rights education. If we want to make young people aware about general Human rights, maybe they have to be trained by others youngsters informed about Human Rights.
Exchange of methods
Our 22 participants didn’t arrive in Berlin with nothing. Not at all! They previously prepared a session about their local work as peer educators for Human Rights. 4 of the 7 days were ran by participants themselves: everyone got the chance to discover original methods from each other. Creativity was the cornerstone of all presented workshops. They played a board game, they painted, they sang, they created slogans and posters, they spoke with books and they acted for real. All that while exchanging their approaches on Human Rights education.
Learning and follow up
Besides the methods, the training was also the opportunity for everyone to discover a bit more about each other and their local contexts. How do peers educators deal with different issues – e.g. racism, sexual orientation or disability- in their own context?
The participants left Berlin with the sadness to say goodbye to each other, but with the energy and the hope to use the new methods they discovered during the Training Course. Regarding the team and
our two organizations, the Training gave us the satisfaction that there are still a lot of young people ready to give their time and their skills to help each other and to take care about the future of our generation and of our world.