09 March 2017 - This week in Brazil saw the start of UNODC's life skills training initiative as part of its global activities to prevent youth crime under the Doha Declaration Global Programme. The initiative focuses on sports in order to build resilience of youth by enhancing their life skills and increase their knowledge of the consequences of crime and drug use. With a view to positively influence attitudes and prevent anti-social and risky behaviour, the initiative is first being tested in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, before being rolled out to other regions, including Latin America, Southern Africa and Central Asia.
Sports has a strong potential to improve the quality of people's lives: besides physical activity, it can help with skills development and social integration and can give people, especially youth, a sense of belonging, loyalty and support. UNODC's sports-based programme presents a unique approach to promote sports for youth development and to provide positive experiences and empower young people.
Alongside awareness-raising, a key component of the work is the development of an evidence-based life skills training curriculum - 'Line Up Live Up' - which targets crime, violence and drug use. Around this, UNODC has designed a manual to assist coaches, trainers, social workers and other professionals working with youth to deliver sports-based training exercises to male and female youth aged 13 - 17 years. Comprising ten sessions, the programme has been carefully designed to target a specific set of life skills and can be used in sports centers and also be applied in schools and other community settings.
"Providing life skills -a set of key personal or social skills that enable youth to deal effectively with the demands of everyday life - will increase their ability to interact with others, to develop positive relationships, and to better cope with stress and insecurity. This will help to minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors related to antisocial behaviour, crime, violence and drug use", noted the lead trainer for the initiative, Peer van der Kreeft.
This week's training of 'Line Up Live Up' saw some 25 trainers and sports teachers who regularly work with youth in vulnerable communities being brought together. The trainers were selected with the criteria that they are a person that the youth trust and respect, and with who they can talk about subjects that do not necessarily relate to their sport training but that concern them in their daily lives.