Volunteerism Among Out-of-School Adolescent Reproductive Health Peer Educators: Is it a Sustainable Strategy in Resource Constrained Countries?
Out-of-school peer educators [PE] are resourceful in transmitting reproductive health information but their retention remains a contentious issue. This study aimed to assess motivation and sustainability of out-of-school PEs in disseminating reproductive health information among adolescents. A structured questionnaire was used to interview 406 PEs in Mbeya region, Tanzania. Focus Group Discussions [FGDs] were also conducted with the PEs and other relevant stakeholders. Most PEs had hopes for future employment and allowances through continuous training. The fact that majority of PEs had primary level education [89%] and were either peasants or self employed [92%] posed a serious question as to whether voluntary work is for the less educated, peasants and self-employed. Sustenance of PEs needs to be a continuous activity aimed at increasing the number of trained adolescents from their own social and economic groups. Otherwise, provision of transport and compensation for time spent should be considered (Afr J Reprod Health 2009; 13:99-110).