UNODC Stands For Strong Families and Youth in Turkmenistan

Drugs, crime and deviant behavior can significantly hurt the lives of children and their families. Strong families give children a safe, secure place to be themselves and learn about who they are. Because children in strong families feel secure and loved, they have confidence to explore their world, try new things and learn. And they can deal better with challenges and setbacks because they know they have family support.

Global initiative of the UNODC Drug Prevention and Health Branch, Prevention Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) piloted number of family-related programmes in Turkmenistan since 2009 which are implemented until now and new youth-oriented initiative as part of the Sub-Programme 3 "Drug Prevention, Treatment and reintegration and HIV Prevention" of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2015-2021.

“Since 2009 UNODC has been facilitating action on the prevention of drug use in Turkmenistan, supporting policy makers in gaining knowledge and skills for the development of comprehensive evidence-based drug use prevention policies, strategies and programmes. Furthermore, UNODC developed the capacities of the national drug prevention professionals through introducing UNODC-WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention and evidence-based cost-effective family skills training programmes, such as Families and Schools Together (FAST), Strengthening Families Programme for Youth between 10-14 and their parents (SFP 10-14) and Strong Family Programme” stresses Mr. Borikhan Shaumarov, Manager of the Sub-Programme 3 in Central Asia. 

Strengthening Families Programme

It involved parents and school children aged 10 -14 years-old to build family life skills aimed at prevention of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and offences among young people by means of capacity building for families in educating their children.

UNODC partnered with the Ministry of Public Education to adopt the Programme to the needs of schools’ curriculum of Turkmenistan and introduced to 10 pilot schools. Moreover, in response to the government’s interest in scaling up the programme, UNODC helped create a pool of 10 national trainers who in turn trained 219 national facilitators. These facilitators worked with 90 children and over 800 families.

" Families are our most basic community. Things such as a sense of belonging to a family, growing in a safe and protected environment and being valued and supported by a family are considered as our basic needs and this is what the SFP programme focuses on." said one of the teachers. Many thanks to UNODC and the European Union for supporting this programme.

Authorities attached a lot of attention to wide awareness raising campaigns directed at the population at large, including young people. As part of education efforts information on the harms of drug use and the need to give up harmful habits is provided. All agencies, including law enforcement, health and education authorities, public organizations and wider community consolidate their efforts in this field. The afore-mentioned agencies periodically prepare and publish brochures, information booklets, articles; and organize round tables with respectable elders. TV companies prepare special programmes to promote healthy society and the activities of the State Service for Protection of Safety of a Healthy Society of Turkmenistan. The campaigns reached over 500 000 people in cities and rural areas of Turkmenistan.

FAST Programme

Turkmenistan joint the UNODC "Families and Schools Together" Porgramme in December 2010 funded by Sweden, USA, France Japan and Spain within the framework of the global project GLOK01 "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes". 


FAST is an after-school multi-family group programme offered for eight weeks to all children within the same grade and their families. The multisystem intervention brings together family, home, school and community to increase child well-being by strengthening relationships and factors that protect against stress.


Since 2010, FAST has recruited and trained 105 facilitators who worked with 226 children and 944 families and piloted in 6 schools.

Strong Family Programme

In 2020, UNODC launched a new Joint Programme on “Improving the system of social protection through the introduction of inclusive, quality, community-based social services” supported by the Joint SDG Fund on Social Protection.

UNODC activities are focused on piloting/prototyping evidence-based family skills programmes for the prevention of drug use and other negative social outcomes for youth. In 2020, this initiative supported the translation, editing and adaptation of the booklet and manual for trainers of the “Strong Family” programme. Furthermore, a comprehensive review of national legislation in the field of social service provision in Turkmenistan was conducted.

In the mid of 2021, UNODC in Turkmenistan organized a series of trainings in Ashgabat from May 31, 2021 to July 6, 2021 to prepare social service providers to pilot new community-based social services as part of the UN-Turkmenistan Joint Programme on community-based social services. The training was organized with support of the UNODC HQ Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) and the USAID Governance Support Program.  The training was held in compliance with the Strong Family and aimed at building capacity of social service providers to pilot three community-based social services led by the UNODC as part of UN-Turkmenistan Joint Programme, which are Social Services for Parents with Addictions, Social Services for Adolescents at Risk of Contact with Criminal Justice and Social Service for Families with Children in Difficult Life Situations.

Regional Network of Youth Organizations

In August 2021, UNODC launched a new initiative on establishment of the “Regional Network of Youth Organizations and Youth Champions of Change in Central Asia for drug and crime free, healthy, safe and secure societies”. Funded by the Russian Federation, the main goal of the project is aimed at mainly addressing issues related to UNODC mandate areas including prevention of drug use, crime prevention, prevention of radicalization, anticorruption measures as well as gender dimension.

UNODC in partnership with Governmental institutions conduct National Consultations with youth organizations in all Central Asian countries during the period from 5 to 30 October. First consultations were held in Turkmenistan where some 23 participants from youth organizations and representatives of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Policy of Turkmenistan along with UNODC Programme Office and UNODC Project Coordinator from HQ Vienna, Austria participating on October 5, 2021.

Mrs. Elizabeth Mattfeld, UNODC Project Coordinator of PTRS  in Vienna introduced UNODC/WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention for youth to use and frame strategies for creating the future they want to see.


These all initiatives are being conducted within the framework of UNODC global project GLOK01 “Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes” in collaboration with UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2015-2021.

 Story in russian language. 


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