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Thematic analysis was conducted on these three data sources, with emerging themes identified, organized and presented in the findings. Our findings show that the pilot program led to reduced internalized stigma and increased self-esteem in participants.
Participants' critical consciousness increased concerning issues of diversity in cultural background, sexual orientation, work experiences and gender identity.
Seen in a variety of settings including hospitals, drop-in centers, and prisons, peer support specialists go beyond treatment as usual and use different training and skills to support recovery in conjunction with professionals like therapists, social workers, and psychiatrists.
They work in a variety of roles including case management, wellness coaching, education, and as active participants in a full range of clinical settings, including crisis services.
We call friends in hard times, visit family members when they aren’t feeling well, and often see support groups for individuals who’ve experienced similar challenges like chronic disease or loss of a loved one.
In the same way that we reach out to someone who we think will understand, peer specialists can provide that understanding during a time when many feel alienated and hopeless.
The peer education program proved successful in enhancing sex workers' community empowerment in one urban setting by increasing their knowledge about health issues, sharing information about and building confidence in accessing services, and expanding capacity to disseminate this knowledge to others.
This 'proof of concept' built the foundation for a long-term initiative in this setting and has promise for other jurisdictions wishing to adapt similar programs.
Peer-to-peer interventions, wherein sex workers act as educators of their colleagues, managers, clients and romantic partners, foster community mobilization and critical consciousness among sex workers and equip them to exercise agency in their work and personal lives.A pilot peer health education program was developed and implemented, with and for sex workers in one urban centre in Canada.To explore how the training program contributed to community empowerment and transformative learning among participants, the authors conducted qualitative interviews, asked participants to keep personal journals and to fill out feedback forms after each session.Research examining the effectiveness of health promotion programs for sex workers highlights the importance of community empowerment-based responses that prioritize the engagement of members of the targeted population in the development and delivery of the programs [13, 14].The Sonagachi Project in Kolkata, India is a case in point.