What do peer educators do?

Peer educators facilitate communication among the communities involved, advisory services and professionals. They play an important role in prevention work by encouraging the communities to discuss the taboo subject of female genital cutting (FGM/C) and critically examine this tradition and its practice.

These intercultural communicators, interpreters, activists and other key figures share a common commitment to combatting female genital cutting, and they all have first-hand experience in dealing with this sensitive topic. Most of them are themselves migrants who come from affected communities.

The activities of the peer educators include prevention meetings with families, carrying out informational and discussion events and public relations work in the communities. With a great deal of experience and respect for tradition, the peer educators lay the groundwork that is necessary in order to talk about culture, traditions, human rights and the consequences of FGM/C by earning the trust of the mothers, fathers, girls and boys concerned.

The peer educators’ activities result in a very high level of acceptance of the prevention work in the communities. Discussions carried out on a basis of equality and respect trigger a shift in values, without which changes in behaviour relating to FGM/C would not be possible. Caritas Switzerland supports 50 peer educators who are actively engaged in awareness-raising work in their own social environment and work with them to develop programmes for the communities involved.

Continuing training and coaching is provided regularly in order to support the peer educators in this important and sensitive work. Do you need contact information for peer educators in your region? Please get in touch with the staff at Caritas Switzerland, or another contact point.