May 12, 2021

On line support and training during Covid

As it has been limited to maximum 6 people gatherings in Finland during the covid pandemic there has been a variety of solutions to continue the support to the most vulnerable  people. Depending on local circumstances some Pilke groups have met and others have had to use telephone and internet for meetings. The project co-ordinators have prepared new events to continue the support and empowerment of group leaders to find innovative solutions to reach the vulnerable aging population. We can all increase the well-being of our loved ones by picking up the phone and keeping in touch. This is the corner stone of prevention to feel connected and have someone to talk to when the need arises.


Calendar of events 2021
National online meetings of Pilke actors:

The highly popular online meetings of Pilke actors will be held again on May 25, 2021 and June 8, 2021 from 1 to 3 p.m. The appointments have the same content, so you can choose which one to attend.

The program includes, among other things, coverage of different areas and workshop work on the Pilke exit plan in the midst of an epidemic.

Register for this by May 19, 2021. Welcome!

Pilke instructor trainings:

Will start again in autumn 2021.

Pilke activities for your community? Contact:

Pilke trainer trainings:

Instructor training II 2.3.2021-18.5.2021 (full).

Trainer training will continue again in autumn 2021


Thank you for your support this makes our work possible!


May 12, 2021

Why we need Self Help Groups in Africa?

On-line facilitator training
On-line facilitator training

Why we need to create self help groups?

There is limited access to any support or treatment for people who suffer from alcohol addiction in many places in Africa. To make up for that,  Self-Help groups, also known as support or mutual help groups, have become an integral part of treating dependence issues and have proven to be an invaluable resource for recovery and empowerment. Indeed, the World Health Organization, with the vision of achieving “universal health coverage” (UHC)[1], has developed several self-help tools, for example to support the recovery from mental disease[1] or substance addiction[2]. These self-help strategies (individual tool, collective group) follow the same principle: offer a series of self-reflective exercises that encourage an understanding of self and propose a way towards recovery.

Self-Help within Blue Cross

The concept of self-help groups are already being implemented by some Blue Cross organisations in Europe and in Latin America. Using this existing experience IBC is supporting the start of first groups in Africa. We are starting in Nigeria, Botswana, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Kenya and Chad during 2021 and we have invited all BC countries to take part in our English and French training.  

Who participates?

Blue Cross organisations who want to want to implement self help groups for people suffering from addiction. Self-help groups are composed from four to twenty substance dependent people. These groups are facilitated by Blue Cross trained laypersons, volunteers and/or former addicts and operate on an informal, non-profit basis, making it a cost-effective and sustainable method of providing services to those affected by addiction.


IBC member organizations identify facilitators who participate in the on-line training sessions provided by IBC staff.  The training is provided monthly with other additional support and coaching as necessary. Once trained the facilitators are working with their Self-Help groups.

These groups meet on a regular basis with the mutual goal of dealing with and working towards overcoming addiction. Every group is autonomous and organizes itself. The members talk about their experiences and listen to each other. Mutual respect, esteem and confidentiality are important to them.

Thank you for your support for this life changing work. Despite the covid restrictions small groups have been able to meet at local communities and we look forward to updating you with some examples from the field in our next report.

[1] idem

[2] World Health Organization, Self-help strategies for cutting down or stopping substance use (ASSIST) (2010)

[1] World Health Organization’s QualityRights, Person-centred recovery planning for mental health and well-being self-help tool (2019), p10

Feb 25, 2021

New ways to support vulnerable kids

Christmas Event
Christmas Event

Unfortunately the activities of all 36 Kids Support Groups in Brazil are still suspended due to Covid-19. Nevertheless they still carried out adjusted activities to continue their work. Since Brazil is a really large country, it is important to accompany the leaders of the different cities to keep the groups going and exchange knowledge and resources. Since visits weren’t possible, they held online meetings to exchange how they keep in touch with children of their groups. Further they planed new groups for 2021. To start new groups they also trained new leaders. These online trainings for new leaders took place in September, October and November. During ten-hours sessions the new leaders got informations about the following topics:

1) Profile of children and adolescents living with drug addicts

2) The approach to the child/teenager

3) Kids Support Groups

4) Teen Support Groups

5) Prevention as care and folloow-up

6) Phases of the child/teenager development

Leaders usually use a handbook, which was published some years ago to support them at their work. In 2020 they started the elaboration of comics for prevention. These comics are used during activities and get distributed to kids. Working with comics is a way to prevent kids from drug and alcohol use in a child-friendly way. Since the kids really liked the comics, our staff caries on developping new comics in 2021. You can see one page of these comics below.

Most leaders visited the families face-to-face or sent them messages to regularly check on them. Two Kids Support Groups held online meetings with the kids during the pandemic. These groups are located in Jaraguá and Pomerode and they talked to the kids about responsibility, life skills and the use of social media and technology.

One of the activities which could take place, was the distribution of Christmas presents for kids of the Support Group in Blumenau. Our staff distributed them to the families together with some kids. They even played some music while visiting the families to surprise them. Another highlight was the Keep Calm prevention camp, which was held online. The event was for teenagers who usually participated at the camp.

All in all, we are really glad to have different possibilites to support the kids in such a difficult time. Every group has found a way to continue reaching out to vulnerable kids all over Brazil. If you like to support our work, we would warmly welcome your support by donating to this project. Thank you for everything you give!

Distribution of Christmas gifts
Distribution of Christmas gifts
Keep calm prevention event
Keep calm prevention event
Leader's Training
Leader's Training
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