An evidence-informed life skills education programme targeting youth at risk in Lebanon
Beirut, 29 July 2019 – In line with the “Inter-ministerial Substance Use Response Strategy for Lebanon 2016-2021” strategic objective to pilot and explore the scale-up of evidence-based prevention interventions for youths, the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) at the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) organized, in collaboration with Soins Infirmiers et Developpement Communautaire (SIDC) and UNICEF together with UNODC, a training for trainers on “Line Up Live Up”, an evidence-informed training programme on life skills. The training was delivered by experts from UNODC at Hoops Hazmieh, from the 23rd till 25th of July, 2019. During the training, 30 representatives from 17 local and international implementing partners were certified.
“Scaling-up evidence-based interventions targeting youths in Lebanon to prevent harmful substance use is a key objective of the Inter-ministerial Substance Use Response Strategy for Lebanon”, highlighted Dr Rabih Chammay, head of the National Mental Health Programme at the MOPH, “This Training of Trainers is a first step in this direction, and a pilot and evaluation phase will follow to inform the scale-up of this intervention”, he added.
Prior to the training, the “Line Up Live Up” (LULU) manual that was developed by UNODC was adopted and adapted to the Lebanese context. This evidence informed manual aims to build the resilience of youth at risk, specifically using sports as a way to reduce risky behavior, including harmful substance use, among youth aged 14-18 years living in adverse circumstances.
“Collaborating with the National Mental Health Program to implement life skills goals to prevent risky behaviors is one of UNICEF’s goals through which we collaborate with the SIDC to build young people’s resilience,” said Abeer Abu Zaki, UNICEF Youth Development Program Officer. “The aim of this training is to enable associations to work on the development of life skills among the 14 to 18 years old youth through sports, in line with the national strategy for responding to addictive substances use”
The 3 days training geared the participants to strengthening the life skills of youth and increasing their resilience to risky behavior through sports activities. During the sessions, participants played and talked about different life skills such as decision making, refusal skill, critical thinking and following that, a link was made to real-life situations, including drug use. “Nowadays, CSOs are urged to be more creative and evidence-informed in their approach to successfully reach young people especially that the prevalence of substance use is reported to have increased among youths”, says Nadia Badran Executive Director at SIDC.
The NMHP in collaboration with SIDC, and the support of UNICEF, and in coordination with UNODC, will roll out the pilot of the LULU program in all 8 governorates. The final contextualized document will be launched in March 2020.”