Change the world

Peer Helping

What characteristics should a peer helper have?


First and foremost a peer helper at the Nelson Mandela University should adhere to the values of the University, in particular the values of *Ubuntu, integrity and appreciation of diversity.  Respect for human dignity is one of the foundations of peer helpers feelings, thinking and actions.

A peer helper should furthermore be trustworthy, non-judgemental, a good listener and easy to talk to - and of good academic standing.


**Code of Ethics of Peer Helpers


Peer Helpers are people of personal integrity, as evidenced by a commitment to and pursuit of:

1.  A philosophy which upholds peer helpling as an effective way to address the needs and conditions of people.

2.  Each individual's right to dignity, self-development and self-direction.

3.  Training and support from professional staff while involved in the peer helper program.

4.  The development of a nurturing personality which:

  • reflects a positive role model and healthy lifestyle, and
  • rejects the pursuit of personal power, elitist status and gain at the expense of others.

5.  Maintenance of confidentiality except in the following situations which shall be reported to professional staff:

  • Situations involving real or potential harm or danger to self or others;
  • Severe dysfunction, eg psychotic behaviour, extreme alcohol and other drug abuse and other problems beyond the experience of a peer helper.

6.  Recognize personal limits and report and deal with potential threats to own emotional or physical well-being.



* Ubuntu links with universal vallues of humanism and kinsmanship.  The core of its ethics is reflected by "unumtu ngumumntu ngabantu", which means that we acquire our humanity through the humanity of others.  The underlying value of caring for others resonates with humanistic psychology, the psychology of individual expression and growth that ties individual potential to the ability to recognise and encourage the potential of others.  It acknowledges the individual's inter-connectedness to others in ways that are vital to psychological development and well-being.

** Adapted with permission from the Code of Ethics for Peer Helpers of the National Association for Professional in the United States.