Engaging Youth in Substance Use Prevention (EYTSUP) - 2019/2020

Project Goals 

To educate and train professionals and students on preventing their societies from the hazardous effects of substance use.

Key Achievements During Project 

  • It was initially intended to invite 20 professionals from different portfolios of Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) and Aga Khan Education Services (AKESP) for Karachi but due to overwhelming response and extensive interest of Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) and Aga Khan Education Services (AKESP)   they sent the nomination of and participation of 29 professionals. Same for the social action projects as total reach was targeted at 250 (50 in each program) whereas total students reached were more than 300.

  • Project was highlighted and appreciated widely on social media platforms and especially on International Substance Use Prevention society website (https://www.issup.net/knowledge-share/news/2019-11/training-professionals-preventing-substance-abuse-schools-and).

  • Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) and Aga Khan Education Services (AKESP)  will utilize trained professionals under the supervision of Mr. Ahmad Shah to further train more community, AKSWB, and AKESP teachers, professionals and community people in other districts of Karachi.

Project Introduction & Background 

This project intends to engage professionals and students from Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) and Aga Khan Education Services (AKESP) Schools in Karachi and also their community teachers from different educational and health including substance use prevention portfolio. The aim of this project was to engage and empower professionals, community teachers and students on Substance Use Prevention and its impact on individual, family and society. Professionals trained under this project will provide training to students of their respective portfolios, other educational institutes, and community schools with the aim to keep engaging their students in healthy activities. Well experienced and Internationally certified trainers in Substance Use Prevention like Ms. Farheen Naveed (CEO-Drug Free Pakistan Foundation) and Dr. Salman Shahzad (Associate Professor-Institute of clinical psychology, University of Karachi) were invited at the professionals training program to speak with participant and share the knowledge and guidance about substance use prevention scenario in Pakistan, types and levels of drugs, causes and ill effects and especially the impact the substance use is creating within families and communities. Mr. Rana Asif Habib (President-Initiator Human Development Foundation) was also invited to speak on substance use prevention among children especially street children, he also provide knowledge about laws and regulations that can help individuals in identifying the solution to these problems and reporting protocols to concerned authorities.

2 Days Training Program on Substance Use Prevention for Professionals

2 days training program was organized for the professionals and community teachers from different educational and health including substance use prevention portfolio of Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) in Karachi at PASK Hall. Total of 29 participants were present in these two days of the training. Experienced and internationally certified speakers in the field of substance use prevention were invited to speak with the participants on SUP and its ill effects. DAY 1 was focused on substance use prevention along with risk & protective factors associated with it. In the beginning an assessment was done in order to understand about the current knowledge and issues that participants feels about this problem. Internationally certified trainers like Ms. Farheen and Dr. Salman were invited where they speak with participants on types of drugs, risk and protective factors respectively. During assessment participants also shared commonly used drugs and how this is affecting the societies especially youngsters who are becoming victim of this disease. Participants were also engaged in group activities and energizer to keep their input in the activity. DAY 2 was focused particularly on set of Life Skills like self-esteem, decision making and critical thinking. Dr. Salman who is also an Associate professor at Institute of Clinical Psychology shared the concepts and importance of life skills in daily life and also in professional life especially in teaching field. In the Last session Mr. Andeel Ali divided participants in group and provided guidance on developing SMART project keeping in view the project aims and objectives. He also shared a sample document with participants that helped them in designing their SMART Projects. At the end of session each group shared their project with other participants and also with the guests. Mr. Ahmad Shah at the end of sessions conducted a post evaluation assessment about the training program and if possible how it can be improved or what contents and components can be added to increase the effectiveness of this training program. At the end of the training participants were also provided with training certificates.

5 Social Action Projects (SAPS)

Trained professionals and community teachers from different portfolios of Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) organized 5 Social action projects at different educational institutes. These programs were the result of 2 days professional training Program after which they initiated to conduct and organized awareness programs in different educational institutes to create awareness among students about substance use prevention, types of drugs most commonly used by school, colleges and university students, risk and protective factors associated with it. Trained professionals were provided animated videos, documentaries, and short film and story books by Mr. Ahmad Shah in order to give better awareness and increase the interest of students in these awareness programs. When students watched the videos and documentaries they showed their interest and trainer also involved them in discussion regarding how to create a healthy society. The students were surprised because they were unaware regarding the knowledge about substance use prevention and how it is affecting individuals and society. Trainer shared risk and protective factors with students also talked about general myths and misconceptions among students that are sometimes misleading or making them more vulnerable towards substance use. Students also shared real scenarios that they are seeing in their neighborhood and how it is psychologically affecting their minds. Trainer also discussed with students about their role and contribution in educating their families and societies on substance use prevention and engaging the communities in several physical and healthy initiatives.  Additionally, several other videos and documentaries were also shared with the participants, who showed the importance of healthy lives and how it is essential for the overall well being.

Lessons Learnt 

While designing the content for this project and taking guidance from internationally certified trainers it was decided to restrict the number of presentations or lectures and increase the group activities that can help them in understanding the core topic and knowledge on substance use prevention. During the training participants also appreciated the fact that the trainers are more focusing on involving participants in group activities and presentation which is helping them in considering the content of the program.

During the training participants also highlighted the issues that is current prevailing within their communities and surrounding, they also shared the fact that many young people and teenagers are becoming more vulnerable towards this issue. Trainers shared the approach through which they can reach out to their schools and community notables that can provide support in delivering the message of healthy lifestyle. Mr. Ahmad Shah assured participants that he will keep in touch with them and help them in can of any content or logistical support in future.

Next Steps

Community Teachers and professionals from different portfolios of Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) will keep engaging the students through group activities, quiz competitions through the calendar year to keep students aware about substance use prevention.

Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) for Pakistan and Drug Free Pakistan Foundation through Mr. Ahmad Shah signed a MOU under which both agreed to work together and create a better understanding where DFPF will work with AKSWB for Pakistan to invite the trained professional, community teachers and students in their upcoming youth and community based initiatives. DFPF will also select students and youth for their upcoming 8th Pakistan Youth Congress which is a national level engagement platform for youth of Pakistan.

Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) for Pakistan liked the idea, content and training structure of this project and showed their willingness to engaged the trained school and community teachers in order to cascade the learning from this training and implementing it to other districts and schools of Karachi.

Success Story

It was initially intended to invite 20 professionals from different portfolios of Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) and Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) in Karachi but due to overwhelming response and extensive interest of Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB), they sent the nomination and participation of 29 professionals. Same for the social action projects as total reach was targeted at 250 (50 in each program) whereas total students reached were more than 300.

Activity highlights of this projects were widely appreciated on several social media platforms like facebook, Pak-US Alumni Network, LinkedIn, South Asia Network, Humphrey Network etc. The story of this project was also published on International website like ISSUP and many was appreciated by international group members.

Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) Karachi liked the idea of this project and they witnessed that how trainer actively and effectively engaged the participants and delivered the message. After the completion of activities leaders from Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) for Karachi invited Mr. Ahmad Shah for meeting and asked to offer this training to other teachers and community people from different portfolios in Karachi with their support.

Country
Pakistan
Themes