Prevention through Life Skills and Peer Education
Empowering Vulnerable Youth in Africa
The Life Skills and Peer Education programme is a holistic prevention programme for disadvantaged youths in the field of alcohol, drugs, gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. It targets mainly students and young people aged between 12 and 25 at public secondary schools as well as young people outside the school context.
By preventing youth from being harmed by alcohol and drugs, the programme decreases violence and disease in communities and enables the youths to lead healthier and fulfilled lives. Three activities form the core of the programme: Life Skills training, formation of young multipliers (Peer Educators) as well as media and policy work.
In the weekly Life Skills trainings, qualified trainers of the Blue Cross help participants to develop self-esteem, self-awareness and decision-making skills. In the training sessions young people acquire better communication skills and learn to resolve conflicts peacefully. The Life Skills sessions empower the youths emotionally, socially and economically by capacitating them to solve problems and deal with difficulties in their lives. Saying “no” to alcohol and drugs is an important part of that.
Furthermore, programme activities focus on HIV/AIDS infections as a possible consequence of alcohol and drug consumption and motivate students to reflect on gender equality in an environment where patriarchal norms are prevalent and violence against women and girls is widely accepted. The training is based on active ‘self-learning’ to enable personal development. Each participant enrols for one school year in the Life Skills programme, attending the sessions on a weekly basis.
Selected participants have the possibility to be trained as Peer Educators, who pass on what they have learnt in the Life Skills sessions to other youth - their peers. Peer Education is based on role modelling and the ability of young people to become leaders and agents of change through empowerment and support. By leading regular meetings and activities with other young people, Peer Educators act as multipliers nurturing the development of social and interpersonal competencies. This way, sustainable healthy behavioural patterns are being formed within communities of young people.
In parallel, the Blue Cross coordinates closely with local authorities and the media and involves parents and community leaders in order to limit young people's access to alcohol and drugs and to reduce the risk of substance abuse. Awareness campaigns about the dangers associated with alcohol and drug use at recreational facilities, churches and within the community are being carried out regularly.
Quick Facts: Harmed by Alcohol
Globally, the harmful use of alcohol causes approximately 3.3 million deaths every year. This is greater than the proportion of deaths from HIV/AIDS. It becomes more and more clear that alcohol consumption contributes significantly to the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and pneumonia. Beyond these health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol inflicts social and economic losses on individuals and society at large and is, specifically in Africa, a major obstacle to development. The growing alcohol consumption in Africa and the early age of onset make the introduction of effective prevention programmes particularly important. Until now, such programmes are non-existent in many countries of the African continent.
Programme – Overview
Promotion of health through substance abuse and violence prevention among young people. Reducing substance abuse among youths decreases violence and the spread of diseases, which allows young people to lead a more productive, healthy life with better perspectives.
- Conduction of interactive Life Skills Sessions to build awareness and strengthen life competencies
- Formation of young Peer Educators, who pass on their skills acquired in the Life Skills sessions to other young people
- Public awareness raising campaigns and sensitisation of parents, teachers and politicians on the danger of alcohol and drugs.
Public high school students aged 14 – 18 years and young motor taxi drivers. In addition, the project works with local leaders, teachers and parents.
Republic of Chad, Republic of Congo, Togo
Funders and partners:
Swiss development funds from DEZA and Bread for All, implementing partners are national IBC member organisations
Budget / total volume:
1,2 Mio CHF for the actual programme phase