The Global Initiative on primary prevention of substance abuse
The Project
Good Practices

Good practices on assessing and planning for substance abuse prevention among youth


Good practices in using a local situation assessment to begin a youth substance abuse prevention project

This publication documents the experience of our local partners-more than 100 community-based organisations in Southern Africa, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe-in planning a prevention response to substance abuse among the youth of their communities.

Here, you can download the publication in Arabic (PDF-574KB)Chinese (PDF-258KB), English (PDF-560KB), French(PDF-1,159KB)Russian (PDF-622KB), Spanish (623KB). Below, you can read about how we identified these good practices and developed the publication.

Our process for developing good practices began in January 2002 when we enlisted the support of Mr. Gary Roberts, then of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, to help us define a concept and structure.

To get ready for the meeting, he developed a self evaluation instrument to help our local partners review their experiences in undertaking local situation assessments and in developing project proposals. We tried to keep the instrument short, and some questions asked our local partners to express their ideas visually, rather than through text. Most questions asked for our partners' opinions on what worked and what didn't; sometimes they were asked to express their ideas visually, rather than through text. We also requested local partners to keep the process as participatory as possible, maybe calling a meeting with all those involved in undertaking the local situation assessment and developing the project proposal.

'ZSAACPA, a local partner from Zambia, reporting on how undertaking a needs assessment changed the relationship of the organisation with key stakeholders in the community'

The instrument was then translated and sent to all our local partners. The translated versions in Russian, Thai and Vietnamese are available from UNODC upon request.

By May 2002 we had received and translated about half of the instruments, and we started to prepare the programme for the first meeting. The programme was structured around five topics corresponding to five groups of questions in the self-evaluation instrument. Each topic was discussed in small groups following the same method of investigation: a story about something that happened to one of the local partners followed by probing dialogues and a collective elaboration on good practice statements about what worked and what could be recommended with regard to that particular topic.

Each organization also had the opportunity to present their activities to the other organizations. However, the focus of the meeting was the discussion of the good practice statements produced by each group. These statements were presented and discussed in plenary, collected and discussed again. Our local partners also wrote down their stories for us, which we collected, transcribed and translated.

The first meeting, in the Philippines, was very successful, and we decided to repeat the same process in the other countries and regions. You can read the good practice statements developed in the meetings in the Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, South Africa and Russia by clicking on the respective links. The meeting in South Africa included representatives of our local partners in South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, while the meeting in Russia involved all of our local partners from Belarus and the Russian Federation.

The statements and stories from all countries/regions were then collated and analysed by our consultant, who produced the first draft of the paper on good practices in assessing and planning for substance abuse prevention among youth. The version that you can download above is slightly different, as we let all our local partners and major stakeholders review and comment on the paper, and we included them in the final version.

As always, we would love to hear your comments and reactions on the paper. Contact us directly; we are looking forward to hearing from you!

Ms. Giovanna CAMPELLO
UNODC Coordinator Global Initiative on Prevention
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
P.O. Box 500
A-1400 Vienna


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