40 girls and women in Bulawayo, 20 in Hwange and 10 in Plumtree and Gwanda were trained to become peer educators. Their training, which covered HIV, STI and cervical cancer prevention, testing and treatment, family planning and gender-based violence, not only supported them to protect their own sexual and reproductive health, but trained them to teach other vulnerable girls and women engaged in, or at-risk of, sex work, how to protect their sexual and reproductive health too. Being trained to be ambassadors in this way, empowered the ladies to recognise their leadership skills and their ability to have a positive influence in the community.
The Shining Star team mentor the peer educators, helping them to write end of month reports. This has been quite a struggle for many of the girls and women in the past, but we are delighted that the numbers of those writing reports in Bulawayo increased to 75% compared to the less than 50% in 2021.
Across all locations, the 90 peer educators have reached an amazing 4,060 girls and women in, or at risk of, sex work with life-saving information, compassionate advice, and empowering knowledge to protect their sexual and reproductive health. 679 have received HIV testing, 189 were referred for Prep to help prevent HIV, 18 were referred for PEP in case of HIV exposure and 208 were screened for cervical cancer.