United Cerebral Palsy Wheels for Humanity (UCPW) is currently implementing peer-to-peer mentorship activities under the USAID-funded Training, Economic Empowerment, Assistive Technology, and Medical/Physical Rehabilitation Services (TEAM) project in Ukraine. The use of peer educators working alongside clinical practitioners in resource centers and other health settings is designed to promote user-focused service provision and increase the quality of rehabilitation services, as it allows wheelchair users and clinical rehabilitation professionals to support each other’s understanding of the full spectrum of wheelchair-user needs.
Under this activity, UCPW is contracting US-based wheelchair-user peer educators to adapt peer-to-peer education curricula and lead a five-day training in peer education for nine Ukrainian wheelchair users with spinal cord injuries. Training topics include a methodology for approaching the newly injured, developing the mentoring relationship, modeling behavior, and active listening skills. The wheelchair users receiving the training are serving as peer educators and advocates for wheelchair users at their respective facilities twice a week, supporting peer-to-peer learning. UCPW is also working with the peer educators and US-based consultants to establish a community of practice through which the wheelchair users can share lessons learned and best practices, discuss technical questions, and strengthen their mentorship skills. Through this activity, the project is helping to strengthen the ability of health facilities to provide appropriate wheelchair and rehabilitation services for the newly injured, as well as follow-up care.