Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!

by International Blue Cross
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Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!
Give Childhood a Chance and Keep Youth Drug Free!

IBC follows an active prevention approach with three pillars:

 

A) Pedagogic measures, which influence individual behavior of participants

B) Mobilisation of local communities

C) Creating better conditions and political framework for protection from alcohol and drug harm

 

In Togo, all these elements are followed in order to effect lasting change. Since many youths start to consume drugs and alcohol excessively at a young age, it is really important to raise awareness about the consequences early on. One way how IBC tackles this, is by organizing sports activities. These activities are part of the pedagogic measures (Point A from the prevention approach). Blue Cross Togo regularly organizes soccer tournaments for youths. Soccer tournaments are always fun and keep youth active. Besides the advantages of doing sports, these events are always a great opportunity to raise awareness of the consequences of drugs and alcohol. Youths get invited for the Life Skills Trainings, they receive leaflets with informations and most important, they get in touch with other students and Peer Educators.

Peer Educators are trained students, which multiply their knowledge among their friends and families. The concept is based on the idea of exemplary function of role models. Peer Educators can actively support other young people in developing leadership qualities. Peer Educators get trained in yearly training camps and can then deepen their social competencies in their local groups. The trained Peer Educators are responsible for creating and leading Life Skill clubs. They receive a small compensation for their weekly organisation and leading of these meetings. Group discussions and role plays are used as tools for raising awareness during the Life Skill club sessions. Additionally, Peer Educators also organize leisure activities like theatre or football tournaments, as well as music or poetry events.

In order to keep on educating Peer Educators and organizing events, we need your help. Thank you so much for everything you give to support youths in Togo!

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The Violence Against Children Survey of 2018 shows that violence against women and children (VAWC) is a burning issue in Tanzania. 27% of girls experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. 52% of girls told someone about experiencing sexual violence, but only 13 percent of girls received help. 60% of girls believe that it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife under certain circumstances. In order to tackle this problem the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children has been developed in 2017. The Plan intends to reinforce the commitment of the government  to provide effective leadership in eliminating violence in Tanzania. The fight against VAWC requires strong partnerships between the government, development partners and the community. Blue Cross Tanzania cooperated with the City Council in Arusha and conducted a two-day training for gender focal points from four different wards. In total 69 participants took part in the training to learn more about the following points: 

  1. Promote positive parenting skills among parents, caregivers and community members.
  2. Promote norms and values that empower women and support non-violent, respectful, positive, nurturing and gender-equitable relationships
  3. Enforce laws relating to rights of women and children.
  4. Train ward VAWC protection committees on their roles and responsibilities

During the training the committees form the different wards elaborated action plans to reduce violence in their wards. The action plans included a strategy, responsible actors and concrete action steps in order to reach their goal. For example the committee from Themi came up with the following strategy:

  • Strengthen the households by empowering men, women, girls and boys in pursuit of social economic opportunities
  • Voice norms and values that empower women and support non-violent, respectful, positive, nurturing and gender-equitable relationships
  • Create and sustain safe and accessible spaces for women and children throughout our communities
  • Promote positive parent-child relationships and reduce violent parenting practices
  • A Tanzanian society that understands and embraces the changes in laws that are proposed and implemented, which protect and respond to violence.
  • A comprehensive and integrated protection system delivering coordinated, quality and timely support to women, girls and boys affected by violence.

 

After the training, participants evaluated the training. The evaluation showed that almost all participants were strongly encouraged to utilize their newly gained knowledge in their work and promote the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children in their community. They even wished for another training focusing on the topic of parenting styles and communication in parenting, since they saw poor parenting styles as a big source of violence against children and women.

 

We are really happy, that we got to cooperate with the government and train wards in the fight against violence towards women and children. Trainings like these are only possible by your support. Thank you so much for everything you give!

Blue Cross Tanzania at a school
Blue Cross Tanzania at a school

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Dinestand is 22 years old and lives in Brazzaville, Congo. As a member of a youth gang, he consumed cannabis and alcohol on a daily basis. As a result, he missed several years of school.
Families and teachers often lack information and do not know how to support youth suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. Besides that laws to protect young people effectively from alcohol and drug harm are lacking in Congo. Thanks to a friend, Dinestand discovered IBC’s project and joined “Génération 5S”.
In regular group sessions, young people learn to take control of their lives and discuss alcohol, drugs and other problems they have. Thanks to his participation in the programme, Dinestand has renounced the drugs and is going back to school. He is now actively campaigning to make people in his school and neighbourhood aware of the dangers of drug- and alcohol use.
Dinestand's story is exemplary for thousands of IBC programme participants in Congo, Chad, Togo and Tanzania. In all these countries, alcohol- and drug use is worryingly high. Dinestand: "Today I really understood what life is. I understood that what I was doing was not life. It was leading me to live an even more painful life than the one I am living now. Today I have nothing but I am happy, without drugs and alcohol. Generation 5S wants to mobilise as many young people as possible to rethink their consumption and lead a healthy life - a life with a better perspective.
IBC works to put an end to this vicious circle by directly working with young people like Dinestand, but also through fostering cooperation with local communities and action groups, politicians and the media. 
Help Generation 5s to continue their work, changing the lives of many young people in Congo.
Thank you for everything you give. Thank you for making a difference.

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Parents at a Life Skills Session in Togo 2
Parents at a Life Skills Session in Togo 2

 The Life Skills Program of International Blue Cross aims to enable kids and teenagers to deal effectively with challenges and demands of their everyday lives. In Togo, Chad, Congo and Tanzania children and teenagers take part in Life Skills Sessions at school, where they build the ability to take informed decisions and expand their cognitive, personal and inter-personal skills. In order to get the best out of the Skills Training, our program not only reaches out to children and teenagers, but to their parents as well. Several behavioural and population studies show that young people state that they would rather get the initial life skills guidance from their parents. However, research also shows that most young people get it from their peers instead. Acting on these results, International Blue Cross produced a new Life Skills Handbook addressing parents. During the Life Skills sessions for parents, they learn how to develop their ability to get better at helping their children. Learning more about parenting style and communication regarding topics such as alcohol, gender-based violence, drugs and tobacco, they get the tools to support their children at becoming healthy and informed young adults.

In the following you can read the story of Atchon from Togo, a parent who got involved in the Life Skills Sessions. Atchon’s story shows that it needs children as well as their parents to take on responsibility in order to get sustainable change within a society,

“My name is Atchon and I am the guardian of the 13 year old child Demagnon. My child is a member of a football team and has been attending Blue Cross sessions for a few months. He often talked to me about Blue Cross, but I just listened with one ear without being too interested in it because I thought he was talking about it to justify going out with his friends. One day when we wanted to eat, I called him and asked him to go buy me some sodabi (the local alcohol) which I used to take as an appetizer before eating. To my surprise, my child categorically refused and told me, “Tanti, We don't need to drink sodabi as an appetizer before we eat. At the Blue Cross we were shown pictures of people who got sick from alcohol, it's terrible. Alcohol is not good; If you want to continue, do it without me; But the day you get sick, don't call me.” Listening to him speak these words to me, I was shocked at first, but realized the truth of what he was saying and let go of the idea of an aperitif. Some time later, he informed me of a parents' meeting at the Blue Cross headquarters which I attended out of curiosity. At the meeting we were told about the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs on health and the issues of violence as a consequence of drug abuse. I understood more and made firm decisions. Today I no longer consume sodabi before eating, I am moved by the good influence of Blue Cross on my child and on me. I say a big thank you to Blue Cross.”

Parents at a Life Skills Session in Togo 2
Parents at a Life Skills Session in Togo 2
Atchon and Demagnon
Atchon and Demagnon

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We are really happy to announce the newly started Life Skills Programme in Tansania!

The Life Skills Programme strives to promote personal and social development and prevents health- and social problems. Life Skills sessions include practicing and deepening cognitive and social skills about topics such as addiction, HIV, discrimination, violence and gender equality. Unfortunately, Alcohol consumption in Tanzania with 9.4 litres alcohol per capita is alarmingly high (African Average is 6.3 litres). Because of its wide consequences, alcohol consumption affects nearly everyone. Alcohol related car accidents, gender-based violence towards girls and women, poverty and bad mental and physical well-being of those around alcoholics are some of them.In order to tackle this issue, the International Blue Cross Tanzania started its Life Skills Programme in Arusha this August. Between August and September, they held 12 Life Skills sessions in three different secondary schools. So far, 350 children took part in the Life Skills Programmes. But the effects of these sessions will not just stay within this community – it will go beyond these kids since they have already started to tell their siblings, parents and friends what they have learned.

Through the comprehensive approach of this programme we contribute to working towards the UN development goals, specifically to reaching the goals in the thematic areas of 3) Good Health and Well-Being, 4) Quality Education, 5) Gender Equality and 16) Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

 

We want to express our thankfulness to our generous donors who take part in breaking the cycle of alcohol-related issues in Tanzania. Thank you so much!

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International Blue Cross

Location: Bern - Switzerland
Website:
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Twitter: @BlueCrossTweets
Project Leader:
Anja Tuchtenhagen
Bern, Bern Switzerland
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