In the past decade, extensive research has been conducted into the effectiveness of different approaches to providing SRHR education and information to young people . Evidence has shown mixed results for peer education programmes, with positive outcomes often limited to young volunteers themselves. However, peer education is often used as an umbrella term to define a multitude of different approaches, with several factors coming into play when it comes to its effectiveness. For instance, frequency of sessions, content of programme, ability and role of peer educators, quality of training, availability and relevance of information, education and communication (IEC) materials and tools, size of the class, supervision and many other quality assurance mechanisms can influence the result of the interventions. These factors need to be thoroughly analysed to avoid any generalisations on the overall effectiveness of peer education.
At the same time, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) has emerged as an effective method to improve youth SRH knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, as evidenced by the International technical guidance on sexuality education: an evidence-informed approach published by UNESCO in 2018.
Several programmes combine these approaches (peer education and comprehensive sexuality education) to reach young people, especially in out-of-school settings and in underserved areas. Empirical evidence has shown mixed results and therefore, more research is needed to understand how to tailor such programmes to respond to the needs of young people.
The purpose of this study is to analyse which factors make peer education programmes more effective to deliver comprehensive sexuality education and to clarify what can reasonably be expected from such programmes.