17 July 2018 - As more and more countries recognize the essential role of sport in promoting sustainable development, UNODC is working across the globe to promote life skills training programmes that can be implemented in sport settings to strengthen youth resilience and help them to stay away from crime, violence and drug-use.
Most recently, UNODC has been working with the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, offering a practical tool for these Governments to complement national youth policies and strengthen their crime prevention efforts through social development. This training programme - 'Line Up Live Up' - targets valuable personal and social skills, such as resisting negative peer pressures, coping with anxiety and communicating effectively with peers, through a set of interactive and fun exercises, comprising 10 sessions that can be attached to a wide-variety of sport programmes.
In close cooperation with a number of Government actors, including the State Agency on Youth, Physical Culture and Sports and the Office of the Mayor of Bishkek, UNODC launched this initiative in Kyrgyzstan in 2017. During phase one, a small number of pilot sites across four districts of Bishkek city were identified based on a set of criteria established for this prevention work. Building on the lessons learned from the roll-out in the first group of sites, additional pilot sites were added in the Chiu, Batken, Jalal-Abad and Osh provinces at the beginning of this year. So far, more than 60 physical education teachers and sport coaches have been certified to train on Line Up, Live Up, resulting in more than 500 youth benefitting from the programme to date.
Meanwhile in Tajikistan, Line Up, Live Up started to prepare for roll-out in the second half of 2017, with the support of the State Committee of Youth and Sports Affairs and the Dushanbe Mayoral Office. Targeting carefully selected communities, a total of 25 physical education teachers and coaches from secondary schools and sports schools have been trained in 2018 so far. Following their training, these trainers have already engaged with more than 400 youth.
Similar to their trainers, the youth that participate in the Line Up, Live Up initiative show a lot of enthusiasm and report an increase in skill development. As one teenager commented during an evaluation session in Tajikistan, "I never knew that sport could be used as a means of exploring ourselves, changing our minds and making us look at things differently." Another noted: "The Line Up, Live Up course helped me to develop valuable life skills, critical thinking and raised my self-esteem."
Besides supporting Member States to introduce life skills training, UNODC promotes the use of sport for youth crime and drug use prevention within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals through a large number of events and activities as well as by supporting policy and programme development. As part of its awareness-raising work, UNODC also recently launched a series of public service announcements (PSAs) in Kyrgyzstan to promote sports as a tool for healthy living and the prevention of crime, violence and substance use.