Supporting peer-based youth volunteering in Kiribati

Developing and expanding peer-based youth volunteering to share health information with young people.

Mar 2021 - June 2023
Kiribati youth seated at tables, engrossed in their work with papers spread out before them.


The team in Kiribati identified an opportunity to support the development and expansion of peer-based youth volunteering, particularly around sexual and reproductive health issues among young people. This project will build upon existing peer-based health education programs from Y-PEER, a program designed by young people, for young people in Kiribati, with support from the Innovation Hub.

Our objectives

  • Provide real-world experiences for locally engaged volunteers in Kiribati to build skills and share health information using peer-based practices.
  • Understand how community leaders can support young people in volunteering programs and increase support for young people from their community.
  • Strengthen relationships with government ministries and organisations in Kiribati so that these relationships can be utilised in the delivery of the volunteering program.

Our approach

The Innovation Hub is interested in developing further opportunities for the Y-PEER network to provide peer-to-peer education throughout Kiribati, by supporting Kiribati's local volunteers. There are approximately 400 young people in Kiribati that are part of Y-PEER and have undergone the program's training around sexual and reproductive health and rights. However, they lack opportunities to share their knowledge in the wider community.

The project has been created with a co-design approach and all stakeholders have been actively involved in the design process. As each phase develops, the Innovation Hub will assist in activities to test ideas with partners and potential volunteers. Those learnings will then be used to inform the volunteer model design.

Initial co-design activities included a two-day workshop with 14 young people who have previously undertaken sexual reproductive health and peer education training with Y-PEER. The workshop covered:

  • opportunities and challenges young people see in participating in a volunteer program
  • what they’d like to get out of a volunteer program
  • the key skills and networks they have that could be built upon.

Further co-design activities are actively being planned. The project team plans to work with local communities, including church leaders and traditional elders, as well as other ministries and organisations, to best understand how to create an enabling environment for young volunteers in Kiribati to thrive.

What we learned

  • Barriers to young people utilising their sexual reproductive health knowledge in peer-based volunteering include low-self esteem, associated costs, lack of community support, and the taboo nature of the topic.
  • Youth programs led by various Ministries in Kiribati tend to have more community support, however, these programs can be less attractive to young people.

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