Community  Based  Peer  Educators   |   Profiles and Trainings

CBPEs  :  roles  and  profiles

    Not everyone is eligible to become a community based peer educator; TASC uses the following criteria as a guide for enrolling peer educators:

-    It must be someone who is a permanent resident of that community (who has been there for at least 5 yrs)

-    The person must be passionate about the work.

-    The person must be literate, that is he/she must be able to read and write. It must be a well behaved person in the eyes of the community

-     It must be someone who does not have a negative attitude towards HIV positive people. The person must be chosen by the community or volunteer to be a peer educator.

    In most instances some of the TASC trained peer educators are also rural health motivators and some are living with HIV or have a family member who is HIV positive which is where the passion for the work sometimes come from. However, due to the intensity of the need for carers in the rural areas some people assist trained peer educators (with their work) such that some people function as peer educators without having undergone a formal training.

    The role of peer educators include among others: provide HIV education to members of the community, distribution of male and female condoms, doing home visits for clients who require palliative care. During these visits peer educators provide education on HIV, support which may be psychosocial or emotional, supply home based care materials supplied by TASC such as disposable nappies, gloves, disinfectants and so on. They further demonstrate how home based care supplies work such as how to use gloves properly, how to disinfect and how to bathe a client. For clients who are critically ill, peer educators help out with household chores such as washing, cleaning and cooking if there is food to be cooked for the client.

CBPEs  volunteer :  testimony

    My name is Theresa Dlamini, I am a Community Based Peer Educator (CBPE) for Nkamanzi in the Manzini region; I was diagnosed as HIV positive in 2005.

    What motivated me to become a CBPE was that my husband died in 2000, I thought nothing of it even though he died after a very long and dilapidating illness; I just thought it was because of his diabetes. My child then got very sick, Fikile Mdluli, who was a TASC trained CBPE would come over to my place, just to see how things were going and she advised me to get me and my son tested. We did eventually get tested in 2005 through TASC mobile outreach and we were both found to be HIV Positive. I had difficulty disclosing to my family at first so I disclosed to the CBPE and then through counseling sessions with her and TASC counselors, I gained courage to disclose to my family and now I live positively and openly with my status. TASC also helped me immensely because through them I was able to get an education fund for my son ho is now 11 years and in grade 2, he was sick for a very long time and did not start school in time because of that, but now he is healthy and happy child and I'm hopeful that he will do well.

    Before I was trained as a CBPE, I was passionate about HIV issues and I taught in the community about those issues, but after I got tested and lived through the phases of fear, hopelessness and acceptance I decided to formally train as a CBPE to be better equipped to help people in my community who are in the position I was in. Due to my experience people in the community open up easily to me and the help that I provide through assistance from TASC, and the fact that my work is appreciated also help me because as I talk to people I also help myself in the process and my stress levels are reduced because I'm doing something I'm passionate about. I started ART in December 2007, and the fact that I'm healthy, even though on ART gives people hope that they too can still live with HIV.

TASC  training  programm


     TASC offers CIHTC/VCT and front desk counselor training in partnership with the Ministry of health and social welfare. The Client Initiated HIV Testing and counseling short course provides training for pre and post test counseling only plus training on rapid testing for the medically oriented counselors.

    The training is divided into two (2) parts:

-    Part 1- Pre And Post HIV test counseling, theory and hands on practical training

-    Part 2- Training on HIV rapid testing, theory and hands on practical training

    Other trainings provided by TASC are; Systemic counselor training and peer educators training Community based and work based peer counselors training. The overarching objective of training is; to build capacity among all VCT/ HTC service providers by sharing skills, strategies, knowledge, and techniques hence improved quality service provision at VCT/HTC sites and health care facilities providing HTC in Swaziland.

    2007 was a rather productive year though we were not able to conduct three HTC trainings as was intended. We were able to run a Systemic counselor training which I would proudly say it was quite an experience since it was conducted to Church members from different denominations, We were also able to conduct training on Community based peer educators on ART literacy to three communities. However, due to the busy schedule though we were not able to conduct monitoring and evaluation to trained counselors.

Educator's training

    CBPEs perform remarkable work in communities in the absence of TASC counselors and despite some communities having no peer educators, CBPE's continued their excellent work. In 2007 an adult peer educators' training was conducted in the community of Nyatsini in the Shiselweni region. A total of 10 participants attended the training; 9 of them were female and 1 was male. 

   During this training topics covered included the following: Basic facts on HIV, Sexual prevention (condom education and demo), Positive living, PMTCT ,Support and Referrals, Opportunistic infections, Nutrition and HIV, Role of peer educators, Key hole gardens, Project formulation and management, Legal issues, Gender and HIV, Home visits, Child grief and bereavement counseling , and Care of the carer.

    During this training TASC introduced the community to the concept of “keyhole” gardening and further capacitated the community with a “keyhole” garden which was planted in the chief's kraal so as to benefit the local orphaned and vulnerable children who have since started harvesting the garden. “Keyhole” gardens act as an organic recycling tank, using food and garden waste as fuel to grow vegetables. Keyhole gardens are good because:

-    They hold in good soil

-   Recycle waste water (they are maintained using grey water, i.e water used for dish washing and or bathing)

-    They can be grown on a rock

-    They are like a giant compost heap which helps retain moisture

    The keyhole garden is ideal for elderly or sick individuals who often depend on it as their primary source of survival; because the working height of the garden is at waist level, people don't need to bend to cultivate it, and it only takes a small amount of water to maintain it.

Peer educators ART literacy training 

     TASC further conducted ART literacy training in three communities namely Ludzeludze, Godloza and Naytsini. The trainees were community based health care workers and people who are in influential positions in these communities, below are the details:

Who were Trained

    These trainings were conducted by TASC VCT/HCT counselors. Trainees were selected based on the important roles they play in the communities as far as health care is concerned; they included Traditional healers, Rural Health Motivators, Community Based Peer Educators, People Living With HIV(PLWHA), Traditional Birth Attendants, Traditional leaders, Youth representatives, Support group members, OVC carers, Pastors, Preschool teachers, National Care Points workers and members of income generating projects.

Rationale for Participants

    The people of Swaziland are largely from the Christian community and thus they often seek guidance from their church leader hence it was essential that they also have the right information in as far as HIV and ART literacy is concerned. Furthermore, Swazis are firm believers in traditional medicine hence they also seek the services of traditional healers. Therefore, all of these groups of people who have the platform to nfluence people's lives were invited to this training so that the information they pass to the general populace is information that is factual and free of bias.

Topics covered

    Topics covered during these trainings included but not limited to the following:

-    Understanding the HIV/AIDS Situation in Swaziland

-    Understanding ART and ARVs

-    Side Effects of ARVs

-    How to Take ARVs

-    Counselor Self care

-    Community Support for ART

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