Peer educator training
One great way to get involved with the work of Scarlet Alliance towards sex worker rights is through our National Peer Educator Online Training Program (SANTP), designed to create and maintain a national standard of peer education across so-called Australia.
What is peer education?
Put simply, peer education is the sharing of information between members of the same group or community and acknowledging the collectively shared knowledge of that group. For sex workers, peer education is the formalisation of the traditional sharing of skills and information that has always occurred between sex workers in our workplaces.
Whether formal or informal, peer education is a two-way process where peer educators share current information and the accumulated knowledge, skills and techniques that we have used in our own sex work and learned from one another.
Peer educators work in ways that emphasise, promote and develop sex workers’ skills, recognising sex work as skilled work and acknowledging sex workers’ expertise. Peer educators often take on the role of a facilitator by creating and supporting opportunities for sex workers to share skills and knowledge with each other.
Peer education is underpinned by principles of empowerment, sex worker self-determination, community development and health promotion.
What do peer educators do?
The role of peer educators is not just about handing out condoms and showing sex workers pictures of STIs. Peer educators respond to the needs of sex workers and the sex worker community in a holistic and empowering way. Challenging stigma and discrimination, building sex worker community, and advocating for sex workers’ legal and industrial rights are all vital elements of health promotion and peer education.
Being a ‘peer’ extends beyond just having experience of sex work. Peer education recognises that within marginalised (and often criminalised) communities, peers work is more effective. This is because we understand the specific community culture and language, are better able to relate to each other, and are more accountable to our own communities. Projects targeting specific sex work communities are best delivered by sex workers from those specific communities. For example, street-based sex workers are best placed to work with street-based sex workers, and migrant sex workers are best placed to work with migrant sex workers.
What is the Scarlet Alliance National Peer Educator Online Training Program (SANTAP)?
The Scarlet Alliance National Peer Educator Training Online Program (SANTP) is a self-directed interactive online learning platform that establishes a national benchmark for peer educators. It was developed and is maintained by experienced sex worker peer educators, in consultation with the sex worker community and sex worker organisations.
The training uses text-based and audio-visual learning materials developed or selected by experienced peer educators and optional reflective, scenario-based, and practical assessments. It covers the skills, knowledge, and values that are essential for effective peer education. It also acknowledges the need for diversity and adaptability in peer education practices and activities depending on local conditions and specific sex work contexts and populations.
You can use the training as a resource to support your own understanding of the topics or complete all the training and assessment activities to achieve a Certificate of Completion.
Who is it for?
The Scarlet Alliance National Peer Educator Online Training Program is available for free for any member of Scarlet Alliance who wants to learn more about peer education. Whether you’re a new or experienced peer educator or a sex worker who wants to support your peers and the sex worker community, enrolling in the training gives you access to resources that will help advance your understanding of peer education and develop the skills and knowledge needed to be an effective peer educator. You might also use it to address a gap in your knowledge or practice by accessing a specific module.
What will I learn?
The training is organised as 9 separate modules:
- The Diversity of Sex Workers addresses the diversity of types of sex work, and people who do sex work
- Peer Education covers the core principles of peer education, the role of a peer educator, and the challenges and successes of peer education
- Migrant Sex Work vs Trafficking addresses the impacts of anti-trafficking policy and the realities for migrant sex workers in Unceded ‘Australia’.
- Community Development conveys the core principles of community development and how they can be applied to the work of peer educators.
- Activism and Advocacy covers the various ways that peer educators might engage with advocacy and activism, including tips and tricks for dealing with media and working with allies
- Law Reform engages with the sex worker community about law reform, an overview of what the sex worker rights movement is wanting from law reform and how to write a submission to parliament as part of a law reform campaign
- Safer Sex Education includes strategies for effective sharing of safer sex and harm reduction information with sex workers effectively
- Outreach addresses the objectives and challenges of conducting outreach activities with sex workers
- Delivering sex worker sensitivity training with essential content and considerations for peer educators providing sex worker awareness sessions to health services and other practitioners that deliver services to sex workers
How long does it take?
The Scarlet Alliance National Peer Educator Online Training Program is designed to be flexible enough to fit around your existing commitments. As it is a self-directed online course, you decide when you study. Once enrolled in the training, you can choose to access the regular group learning sessions via Zoom or work your way through the training independently. Learners can opt to develop a flexible learning plan with the support of the SANTP Coordinator or just complete the modules you choose at your own pace.
Each module has different content and requirements, and the time needed to complete a module will vary. Some modules might only take 4 – 6 hours to complete, and others may require 1- 2 days. Your time commitment will depend on which modules you choose and whether you want to complete the whole training, including assessments.