Peer education for Migrant peer educators, January 2010


1. Background

By 31st December 2008 there are 80,839 registered migrant workers in the Maldives which is 26.11 percent of the local population. 239 of migrant workers have tested positive for HIV thus being deported as of May 2009.

The plight of most migrant workers in the Maldives is relatively poor. They fulfill jobs like serving in restaurants, hotels, as shop assistants, doing domestic household work, as workers maintaining roads and other buildings and most are associated as construction workers. The working hours in most cases are not stated by the employee/ recruiting agencies hence workers have to work long hours. In addition, due to their low income, they take in cheap labour such as throwing away garbage and working in other houses as cleaners, cooks, child carers etc.

The vulnerable groups specified for the risk of spreading HIV are youth, sex workers, MSM, IDU, resort workers, seafarers and migrant workers. Migrant workers come into this category as they have to work for long duration sometimes for months away from their families. Also a large number of people have to share the same room and bathroom, resulting in these lodging homes to be of minimal hygiene. Although few interventions have been administered to minimize the number of expatriates from coming for work to Maldives, much less actions have been formulated to ease their living and working conditions.

 2.       Why migrant workers?

As one of the activities for SHE, initially leaflets in multi languages have been produced and have been distributed to the respective communities. But just distributing leaflets is not effective when it comes to persuading oneself to change behaviour risking to HIV.

So Migrant workers are selected from different communities to conduct personal interactions with their peers, passing the message more effectively. They also have the responsibility of distributing the multi-lingual leaflets which were produced based on researches done previously. These leaflets are produced in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Sinhalese and Nepalese. They would also be assigned to the task of giving away condoms, once after they are procured.

2.1 Selection of migrant peer educators.

The table shows how the migrant peer educators are selected:

No. of peer educators





















This selection is done based on the prevalence of the number of people representing a specific community and language present in the Maldives.

The “terms of reference” with the peer educator involves all the integral parts of the work involved from the period of outreach; from 22nd January till 15th October to the remuneration procedure.

2.2      Criteria

2.2.1 The most prominent criteria is understanding English and the language for which a peer educator is chosen for. For example, a Bengali peer educator should understand both English and Bengali.

2.2.2 The peer educator has to be willing to participate in the programme and must be active in while conducting the outreach programme.

2.2.3 The peer educator should be a respected person by his/her community.

2.2.4 The Migrant peer educators have gone through the ToR thoroughly and has agreed o the terms listed in it.

2.3 Reporting Format

The peer educators are to report back in two formats. One is to enter the entire record for each interaction on a daily basis, the other one is reporting back each month after outreach work.

 3.       HIV education session for migrant peer educators

The session was held in UNDP conference room on the 22nd January 2009, from 15:00hrs till 17:00hrs. Ms.Ivana Lohar(Programme Coordinator,UNDP/GF), Ms. Ramsha A.Sattar(Behaviour Change Communications Officer, SHE/GF) and Ms.Asna Luthfy(Finance and Reporting Officer, SHE/GF).

To begin the session introductions take place in the form of a game. The facilitator tell her name and something about herself, for example, something of interest, favourite colour etc and if anyone else has that certain fact same as her that person would have to raise the arm.

After introductions, facilitator gives a background of the Global Fund supported programmes in the Maldives, which includes the framework, activities being conducted, details of the target groups involved and major outcomes.

Next, basic information on HIV is given which includes the route of transmission of HIV, ways of prevention and the major misconceptions. The group discussed possible questions which the peers might ask and tackled them.

Then the group goes into a discussion on the importance of having migrant peer educators to effectively reach the migrant population in the Maldives. Here Ms. Ivana Lohar specially stresses on the point that it is very important, while doing outreach work, not to preach on what is morally good or bad. As this diminish the trust between peer educator and the peer. But the message should be on how to protect oneself from HIV or any other STI if not the partner. Also to give the relevant and needed information.

Then the facilitator goes through the form, “daily migrant outreach log” and explains on how to fill the data per interaction. Next, the group goes through the “migrant worker monthly overview” form.

Then some of the concerns of the participants such as how to approach themselves to the peers were tackled. And the action to take if questioned by an authoritative figure also discussed as in the future peer educators are suppose to distribute condoms as well.

Once the session got over, the outreach kit prepared was handed over to the participants and they signed the “terms of reference”. After which everyone enjoyed tea.

3.1 Constraints:

3.1.1 Difficult to find peer educators even after contacting the relevant high commissions in Male’.

3.1.2 Unable to locate peer educators from minimal level working areas, as they don’t understand English and as their heavy work load doesn’t  allow them to do anything extra.

3.2       Observations and Recommendations:

3.2.1 Both the participants and the facilitators enjoyed the session, and the participants were quite interested in the subject area and much more enthusiastic on doing the outreach work.

3.2.2 The timing of the session was according to the schedule.

3.2.3 Some of the participants felt that it would be better if they have some kind of identification badge/ note when they interact with their peers.

3.2.4The participants could relate to what is asked from them, as they could relate to Ms. Ivana Lohar and as she explained to them in a very practical manner.

4.       Way forward

4.1 The initiation of peer to peer outreach work for migrant workers is a crucial action in helping facilitate behaviour change communication to prevent HIV.

4.2 Monthly meetings with peer educators will be held to get their feedback and for them to hand over the daily forms and do the monthly reporting.





Allocated Budget (MRF)

Actuals (MRF)

Variance (MRF)

Reasons for Variance





Catering for Migrant Peer Educators training on 22.01.2010







Purchasing of Migrant workers kit







Hall rent






This cost was not utilized as the hall was provided by UNDP for free of cost.







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