"Strong Families" Programme Expanding to Remote Areas of Uzbekistan

"After participation in the "Strong Families - Happy Schools" pilot, parents came up to the administration of our school to request to set a Parents' Club. Parents got more interested in the school life. School and parents got closer."- said Ms. Malika Sakhibjonova, psychologist of the School #240, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

"Becoming good role models and helping their children to acquire skills to make informed decisions, setting rules for acceptable behaviours, monitoring free time and friendship patterns are effective tools in preventing substance use among children, violence against children and youth violence, and crime" says the "Strong Families" programme, developed by UNODC experts.

Having had a successful piloting of the adapted version of the programme in Tashkent city, Ministry of Public Education jointly with the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia conducted a training-for-trainers (ToT) for 70 specialists from 14 administrative territories of Uzbekistan - 12 regions, Karakalpakstan and Tashkent city on 17-19 October 2019.

"The programme is brief and easy to implement. It provides with not only general information on caregiving and stress-management, but also with clear and hands-on tools on how to identify stress and help the child to overcome it. It also teaches parents techniques on how to overcome stress of any nature." - explains the UNODC expert Ms. Indira Mukimova.

"Strong Families - Happy Schools" programme is a universal/selective prevention intervention designed for families with children aged between 8 and 15 with the aim of improving parenting skills, child well-being and family mental health. Brief, light (easy-to-implement), evidence-based, suitable for low resource settings, open source and cost-effective programme is especially designed for families living in remote rural areas and resource limited settings.

"Teacher can prepare for the program from available means. Conducting sessions is easy. For example, one of our teachers uses this program during Friday educational hours." - added Ms. Sakhibjonova.

Launched in January 2019, the programme will be scaled up throughout the country as a part of the "Happy School" national project. The programme was adapted for the national conditions of Uzbekistan in close cooperation with specialists from the Ministries of Public Education and Health, as well as the "Oila," Republican Scientific and Practical Center.

After returning home, the ToT participants are going to hand their knowledge over to specialists from their home regions, especially with rural teachers and psychologists.

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