Girls Peer-to-Peer Education

Equipping young women in Uganda to navigate life’s challenges
Key Staff Members: 

JGI’s peer-to-peer education program equips young women in Uganda with information on topics including HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health.  JGI also provides training in life-planning skills designed to help girls successfully navigate the challenges of maturing into adulthood.  The girls then return to their schools and communities and share what they've learned with their peers who are often more comfortable receiving information from people of the same age group rather than adults.  

The project also provides participating schools with materials to help teachers guide students and inform them about women’s health issues.  These materials include pencils, pens and exercise books for girls whose families cannot afford scholastic materials, as well as hygiene supplies so girls won't feel the need to stay at home during their period.

The peer-to-peer education program is based in schools that currently participate in Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, JGI’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program. JGI’s peer-to-peer educators live in communities within proximity to priority wildlife conservation areas.

Background / Issues

In most schools in Uganda, female school attendance plummets when girls reach puberty, in large part due to a lack of access to reproductive health information and materials.  Many girls leave school at a very young age to marry or to contribute to the household by assisting with tasks such as farming and water collection.

“Before the introduction of JGI’s peer-to-peer education program, in most schools an average of 20 girls completed grade seven,” says Rachel Bitarabeho, peer education officer for the Jane Goodall Institute-Uganda (JGI-UG). With the introduction of the program, now an average of 35 girls attend grade seven in each school.  In many of the schools where the program has been implemented, the number of girls is now actually greater than the number of boys.”

A large portion of the program’s success is due to its work to educate parents about the benefits of girls’ education.  In an area of the world where many girls drop out of school to work or marry, parental support for young women’s education is critical.  Thanks to the peer program, young women have also learned that education is their right and are more confident and motivated to assert their right to go to school.

Highlights/Results:

With support from the American People through the Agency for International Development (USAID),  Nike Foundation, and Jane Goodall Institute-Canada , JGI has trained 408 peer educators in Uganda who counsel more than 6,000 young women each day regarding women’s health issues.

“Before the introduction of JGI’s peer-to-peer education program, in most schools an average of 20 girls completed grade seven,” says Rachel Bitarabeho, peer education officer for the Jane Goodall Institute-Uganda (JGI-UG). With the introduction of the program, now an average of 35 girls attend grade seven in each school.  In many of the schools where the program has been implemented, the number of girls is now actually greater than the number of boys.”

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