As part of its efforts to support the implementation of the Doha Declaration, UNODC has launched a global youth crime prevention initiative that builds on the power of sports as a tool for peace. The initiative aims to promote sports and related activities to prevent crime and to effectively build resilience of at-risk youth. Strengthening the life skills of youth is a key objective in order to minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors related to crime, violence and drug use. By enhancing knowledge of the consequences of crime and substance abuse and developing life skills, the initiative seeks to positively influence behaviour and attitudes of at-risk youth and prevent anti-social and risky behaviour.
Sports for development and crime prevention
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underlines the growing contribution of sports as a tool for peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect. It also highlights the contributions that sport can make to the empowerment of communities as a whole, to individuals (particularly women and young people) as well as to health, education and social inclusion.
More specifically, sports offer an important opportunity for building life skills of at-risk youth that allow them to better cope with daily life challenges and move away from involvement in violence, crime or drug use.
Youth as agents of change
Through partnerships with Governments, sports organizations and civil society, UNODC will conduct national and regional youth-oriented awareness raising sports initiatives to further promote civic values and disseminate the benefits of sport in keeping youth from becoming involved in crime and violence.
Youth will be placed at the centre of outreach activities as agents for change. By sharing their experiences on how sports and life skills training helped them to stay away from crime, youth will engage and reach out to other at-risk youth.
Line Up Live Up
Line Up Live Up - UNODC's evidence-informed and sports-based life skills training curriculum - has been designed as a unique tool that transfers the accumulated expertise of the United Nations and other partners in implementing life skills training for crime and drug use prevention to sport settings.
Through the Line Up Live Up programme, sports coaches, teachers and others working with youth in sports settings can target valuable life skills, such as resisting social pressures to engage in delinquency, coping with anxiety and communicating effectively with peers, through a set of interactive and fun exercises.
The training programme has been first tested and piloted in Brazil in 2017 and will be implemented in a number of countries across the world, including those in Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and South America.
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UNODC and local authorities in Brazil and South Africa teamed up in September to begin training of sports trainers for the implementation of the Line Up Live Up curriculum for youth crime and drug use prevention. Some 43 coaches from sport centres in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, as well as from after-school programmes in Cape Town, South Africa were trained on the Line Up Live Up methodology through a set of interactive sessions.
During the sessions, particular attention was given to processing, which forms a key component of the training as it facilitates learning by allowing youth to link the knowledge and skills that they acquire during the various activities to challenges they face in everyday life.
Situated in the southern Batken province of Kyrgyzstan, the municipality of Kulundu sits on the border with Tajikistan in Central Asia. Home to around 25,000 people, the residents in this remote, rural area mostly earn their living by engaging in agriculture and cross-border trade. With limited employment opportunities, however, young people often face a range of challenges.
Within this context, UNODC is working to use sport as a vehicle to promote valuable life skills among youth. Under the Doha Declaration Global Programme, the organization is engaging youth who are at risk of violence, drugs and crime, with Kyrgyzstan one of the pilot countries where awareness raising sports initiatives will be conducted.
UNODC is working on youth crime prevention through sports. The initiative focuses on sports in order to build resilience of youth by enhancing their life skills and increase their knowledge of the consequences of crime and drug use.
We chatted with Thabang Ntloko, Football and Life Skills coach at Grassroot Soccer, an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize youth at-risk in South Africa
At the 26th Crime Commission in 2017, UNODC demonstrated some of the life skills exercises on a specially constructed pitch in the UN Plaza - a location not generally known as the setting for a football match! Working with partners including the FIFA Grassroots Programme, the NGO Grassroot Soccer South Africa, and the First Vienna Football Club youth team, attendees were shown the exact exercises employed to help youth aged 13-17 gain the necessary skills and mind-set to be able to resist anti-social behaviours.