Youth Leadership

Youth LeadershipTYAP works with schools, youth gangs, and communities to train youth volunteers about sexual education, HIV/AIDS prevention, gender and sexuality, human rights, reproductive health, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/intersex (LGBTI) issues, life skills, and other youth related issues. In schools, TYAP recruits 30 students in high school and universities per semester (two semesters a year); in youth gangs, TYAP recruits 20 leaders per semester; and in the communities, TYAP recruits 30 youth from each community, Maetang, Wieng Haeng, and Sankampaeng, per semester.

Each semester, TYAP trains student volunteers from local colleges, universities and vocational schools to become HIV/AIDS educators within the community. These recruits learn about HIV transmission and prevention, risk behavior, gender and sexuality, confronting stigma and discrimination, sexual and reproductive health, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/intersex (LGBTI) issues, life skills, human rights, and personal decision making, while developing their communication and facilitation skills and learning to prepare workshops.

Following a semester long training, the volunteers lead outreach programs within schools, juvenile correction centers, and local communities to teach younger students about HIV/AIDS, transmission, risk behaviors and prevention methods, as well as sexual education, sexual health and identity and healthy relationships. The outreach activities focus on gender roles and sexuality, communication skills, self-esteem, as well as encourage youth to think critically, discuss sexual topics openly and to trust themselves in order to gain the confidence needed to negotiate difficult situations effectively and make responsible decisions. The students taught by Peer Educators are able to gain knowledge in a peer setting which often allows for easier discussions.
Youth are often more likely to take the time to listen to their peers on issues of sex and HIV/AIDS transmission than adult supervisors. At the end of the outreach activities, the young students are encouraged to become peer educators themselves. These students continue to receive training on a weekly basis throughout their service. They are encouraged to run their own HIV/AIDS workshops and/or activities in their communities with the support of the TYAP team. Youth leaders are also encouraged to organize campaigns in their schools and communities on sexual health and youth issues through pamphlets, a documentary, a radio show and/or school radio, with the support of the TYAP team and school teachers.

The training sessions not only educate youth volunteers on HIV/AIDS prevention, reproductive health, sexuality, and many other important issues surrounding Thailand’s youth, but also empower the youth volunteers to take action in their own communities, giving the volunteers the self-confidence, agency, responsibility, teamwork, and decision making skills needed to be active, productive, and positive members of their communities. Furthermore, TYAP encourages Peer Educators to start their own youth groups so that the TYAP activities are sustainable and able to continue after the program has ended.