25 June 2021 – Spain is the first European country to have implemented the UNODC Line Up Live Up curriculum on life skills through sport and, since 2019 when the project was launched in the city of Santurtzi, in the Basque Country, it has formed part of a comprehensive partnership between local educational, social, and health authorities.
Strengthening valuable life skills among youth, and preventing drug use and engagement in crime, are the key goals of the programme. Recently, the School Council of the Basque Country officially recognized the value of Line Up Live Up in promoting drug use prevention, sport, and seeking to achieve developmental goals in an innovative way.
During an award ceremony to mark this, Maite Alonso, President of the Euskadi School Council, spoke on the value of the different aspects of the programme, in particular “the search for transversal competences for life, which students will achieve through sports, especially in the area of drug addiction prevention.” The Mayor of Santurtzi, Aintzane Urkijo, thanked the Euskadi School Council for the recognition and extended the award to all those involved in the project – students, teachers and families – without whose collaboration the work could not be carried out.
Given that this broad, cross-sector collaboration is a major factor behind the success of the initiative in Santurtzi, Xalba Abaroa, Addiction Prevention Expert of the City Council, expressed appreciation for the participation of the Parents Association of the Axular Institute when involving families in the development of the programme.
At the request of Santurtzi’s Youth, Sports and Social Prevention department, Line Up Live Up was implemented with 110 students in two public schools, with the committed engagement of physical education teachers, school counsellors and parent associations. Despite the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the temporary suspension of the programme, youth successfully completed the programme and took part in a certification ceremony.
Learning from this innovative experience and contributing to the evidence of what works to prevent youth crime and violence is central both for UNODC and to the city of Santurtzi, who, in partnership with the local university and research institutions, will conduct a mid-term evaluation at the end of 2021 and an impact study in 2023. These studies will aim to assess how the programme was implemented and what the effects of have been on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of participating youth.