Talking Realities ...young parenting - a peer education project. Evaluation Report. (2004)

Gwyn Jolley & Stacey Masters

The Talking Realities project employs young parent peer educators to present a program to students and other young people with the aim of increasing their capacity to make informed choices regarding parenting and health. The program's content is designed to create a realistic awareness of the potential short and long-term consequences of pregnancy and parenthood for male and female adolescents. It challenges young people's attitudes and beliefs about pregnancy and parenthood and the consequences that occur for young parents. The presentation focuses on all aspects of the responsibilities of young parenting (i.e. change in lifestyles, financial and educational implications, children's developmental needs, housing issues and sexual health). The content highlights the emotional and social consequences of young parenting as well as children's needs and responsibilities in children's development.

The evaluation of the Talking Realities project has adopted a collaborative action research approach that embodies a continual process of planning, action and reflection. By necessity, the evaluation has focussed on process and short term outcomes for students and peer educators. Some of the learning that has occurred during the project includes the recognition that the life course outcomes for the peer educators and their children should be researched and documented. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the program has a life-changing impact on the young parents who undertake the peer education training and that this has cumulative benefits for their children. To this end, funding is needed to undertake research that has a specific focus on the medium and longer-term outcomes for young parents who participate in the Talking Realities program, and their children.

This report is available to download Talking Realities evaluation report.pdf