Acomprehensive youth-to-youth initiative program called ‘ Youth Peer Education Network’ was launched in Royal Thimphu College (RTC) with the aim to educate youth on sexual and reproductive health issues that is innovatively designed for the youth.
The mission of Y-PEER is to promote a healthy life style through peer-to-peer approach and to empower the young people to make responsible decisions.
Y-PEER is network of more than 500 non-profit organizations and governmental institutions in various countries around the globe that work in the areas dealing with adolescent sexual and reproductive health. There are thousands of youth enrolled as members in Y-PEER in many countries.
Talking to the Y-PEER’s focal person at RTC, Khachab Dorji, 21, a final-year student, said the program is centered on bringing information, knowledge and services related to sexual reproductive health issues to the youth.
Further, it also helps to strengthen their base as peer educators and to get a better understanding of the concepts of skills-based health education and related peer-led health education methodologies.
“Our vision is to make an independent life in the long run, as a responsible citizen and also to engage and enrich the lives of students in the campus and make all the students well-rounded in the all the fields, not just in academics,” Khachab Dorji said.
RTC has five members who underwent training of trainers (TOT). There are plans of enrolling more students as trainers.
The program has registered 20 members already, and later the program will combine all the members and form a club.
“Y-PEER basically emphasizes on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHS), and besides that we focus on presentation, leadership, and facilitation skills, and
basically to build ourselves. The emphasis on SRHS is important because at this age young, the youth are at risk of sexual health issues,” he said.
He said it is important for the youth to be informed so they can take better control over their own health and well being.
Y-PEER is organized and managed by the youth as it is a youth initiative program.
“Different youth come from different institutions with innovative and ideas so that in the near future, on a larger scale, they can be a part of decision making when it comes to youth policy like, the national youth policy,” Khachab Dorji said.
He added, “Being a youth, we understand ourselves. If we look at our society, it is very conservative, especially when it comes to sexual talk between adults and young people. There is the hesitation and awkwardness, but as youth-to-youth, when we talk about sex, we feel free, we understand each other’s problems, and in the long run, we can convey to such health issues and negative consequences to the adults, even our parents.”
Y-PEER also aims to build partnership between the youth and adults. More than 50 student leaders, representatives from RTC, Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) and JDWNRH attended the launch on March 27.
The program was launched in collaboration with the DYS, Ministry of Education with funds from UNFPA.
Y-PEER was established in Bhutan two years ago. It also has a unit in Gaeddu College of Business Studies in Chhukha which covers the southern region and Sherubtse College in Trashigang which covers the eastern region.
The Y-PEER network,constantly expanding, consists of youth from central and eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, North and East Africa and newly established in the Asia Pacific.