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Peer Counseling Model
Drug abuse and its related violence has become an enormous challenge in Africa. Joseph Kow Ghunney of The Methodist Church Ghana, an advisor to SPSARV and the Africa Task Force, reports that a growing number of young people are becoming drug abusers or dealers throughout the African continent. Alcoholic advertisements on billboards, television, and radio are consciously targeting young people.
For over a decade, Bishop Ghunney has championed ministry responses dealing with substance abuse among young people in Ghana. His findings revealed the tremendous impact of peer pressure and the powerful influence – negative or positive – of young people on each another. Armed with these findings, Bishop Ghunney formulated a peer model for young people to assume nurturing roles to prevent drug use and intervene, if necessary.
With support from SPSARV, Bishop Ghunney worked with the Methodist Church Ghana, local government officials, and education professionals to implement a peer-counseling model across Ghana. His achievements in Ghana led to a special partnership with SPSARV to replicate his model across all African United Methodist central conferences. African central conferences are currently utilizing his Peer Counseling training model and manual.
Training for Peer Counselors
Young people understand each other and are often more willing to confide in and accept help from their peers than adults. Equipping young people with the life-skills to deal with the challenges of daily living can help avert the use of drugs. The peer-counseling model leverages the influence that youth and young adults have on each other to create positive behavior change among peers.
The training consists of five phases: skills training in counseling; life-skills training; tobacco, alcohol and other drugs education; group dynamics; and giving supervision and feedback. Each phase has sessions arranged to teach trainees specific skills.
The training’s success in engaging young people in substance abuse prevention and providing resources and responses to the global drug crisis and related violence led to its replication in other African countries.
A peer-counseling training manual, published with support from SPSARV, is available in English, Portuguese and French. Although Bishop Ghunney developed the manual within the African context, SPSARV encourages broad use of this resource. To request a free copy of the manual, contact SPSARV at firstname.lastname@example.org or download manuals below.