The aim of the project was to evaluate a peer education programme in Zambia run by local people in relation to changes in behaviours, the effects of the programme on the community and the dynamics of peer health promotion. A qualitative process evaluation using focus groups consisting of both participants in the peer education programme and educators was utilised. The peer education programme was aimed at setting up anti-AIDS clubs through recreational activities, empowering people in a variety of ways, and reaching people in some of the most remote parts of the country. Key findings indicate that the programme had an impact on participants' attitudes to HIV/AIDS as well as on lifestyle and behaviour, both in relation to sexual practices and cultural norms. Knowledge about HIV prevention was substantial and clear. Most importantly, the findings suggest that success of the programme is related to the fact that it brought the community together to fight AIDS. Peer education programmes must be able to motivate people to work together with appropriate methods, empower local communities and consider issues of long-term sustainability.
African Journal of AIDS Research 2004, 3(2): 183–190