"I Started Treating My Children Differently…"

Regardless of the nationality, no mother wants her child to grow up as a thief, drug addict or an alcoholic…

Principal of a school in Tajikistan

372 families benefitted from the UNODC project "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes in low- and middle-income countries" (FAST) implemented in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan since 2010. 148 national trainers were prepared, out of whom 38 trainers passed regional training of trainers successfully and got the status of "intern trainers."

The main goal of the project is a capacity building exercise to embrace and implement family skills programs. By providing the necessary tools, human resources and evaluation advocacy material, this project launched the drug prevention programs nationally in the respective countries.

"I started treating my child differently. I try to spend 15-20 minutes with my daughter every day: we read books together, watch movies and discuss them. Now, she tells me about her personal problems and concerns. Before the programme she was shy, she could not speak on public or read poems in the class. Now she is asked to lead all school events." (parent, Tajikistan)

The evaluation of the second cycle of project implementation demonstrated statistically significant positive changes in family relationships, parent-child bond, child's behavior at home and at school, parents' involvement in school, and parents' social support. In addition to that, 16% of parents reported to have stopped smoking tobacco, 18.5% reported to have stopped drinking alcohol and 18% reported to have not been drunk from consuming alcoholic beverages. These dramatic changes demonstrate the effectiveness of the FAST Programme.

"When we participated in the FAST Programme, my oldest son was in fifth grade. He made a conclusion for himself that smoking and drinking alcohol is bad. Since then, two years have passed. My son is actively involved in sports, he never smoked, and claims that he will never drink alcohol." (parent, the Kyrgyz Republic)


A series of national round tables covering the trained facilitators, the cultural adaptation teams, FAST families and high level officials from local partner institutions (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, other relevant organizations) were conducted in all concerned countries. The main goal of the round tables was to discuss results of the project implementation in 2010-2011 and develop sustainability mechanisms for FAST Programme in the countries. At the round tables UNODC ROCA representatives presented an overview of the regional project activities in 2010-2011 and the project evaluation results, while national FAST team members made presentations on activities related to adaptation of the manual to the local culture and national peculiarities of the project implementation. Parents shared their success stories and children demonstrated new skills they developed as a result of the project.

"I was very shy and did not want to go to the blackboard. After participating in the project, I became confident, an excellent student and the president of the class. I made a lot of new friends." (child, Kyrgyzstan)

"There was a family involved in the project with us, whose 2 year old daughter became ill and died during the programme. The national FAST team and other FAST families helped this family to overcome a psychological challenge and brought this girl's parents back to life again." (parent, Tajikistan)


Presentations by national trainers and parents as well as childrens' performances did not leave anyone indifferent to the programme. Even those guests who have recently learned about it were in spired by the achievements and expressed their willingness to participate in the future work of the project. At the round-tables, national results of the pilot implementation of the project in 2010-2011 were recognized as effective and successful, and it was decided to establish a working group in each country to develop a national sustainability concept for the programme.

"Initially, our family did not want to participate in the programme. But eventually, when we found out that the main goal is the development of the child, we agreed. After these sessions, we started to communicate with our son's school teacher, while before that we did not go to any parents' meetings at school. Neighbors heard that we were participants of the FAST Programme and they started coming to our home and ask about FAST and how  they could get into the programme. It even felt as if our family became more respected among the neighbors. This programme should be scaled-up, so more families can benefit from it". (parent, Tajikistan)

During the round table meeting held in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kojakhmet,  head of the department for youth politics of the Ministry of Education and Science, mentioned that the government has included the FAST Programme to the sectoral program to combat drug abuse and drug trafficking in the Republic of Kazakhstan in the years 2012-2016. The FAST program will be used as  a drug abuse prevention programme among primary school students. More detailed plans on the integration of the programme into the education system will be prepared by the working group.