Islamic Republic of Iran


UNODC Conducts Semi-Virtual Training for Strong Families Programme


The Strong Families Programme is a family skills prevention programme created for families living in challenged settings that was designed by researchers and experts from UNODC. The programme aims to strengthen family bonds and increase the resiliency of families to difficult external circumstances, thereby reducing the incidence of drug use and harmful behaviors among youth that participate in the programme. In the fall of 2019 and winter of 2020, UNODC Iran, with funding assistance from the Government of Japan and support from its national counterparts, adapted and piloted the Strong Families Programme in 10 different centers across the cities of Tehran and Karaj. A scientific evaluation of the impact of the pilot implementation found significant positive improvements on various psychosocial measures for the caregivers and children that participated in the programme.

In the first half of December 2021, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office in Iran, with support from the Iranian Drug Control Headquarters (DCHQ) and Ministry of Education (MOE), conducted a semi-virtual training for facilitators of the Strong Families Programme in preparation for the expanded implementation of this programme in Iran.

The training was spread over four days from 6 until 16 December and conducted in a semi-virtual format, with trainers from UNODC HQ in Vienna participating virtually and facilitators and personnel from UNODC Iran meeting in person in Tehran with observance of safety precautions related to COIVD-19. The facilitators had come from six public schools and four NGOs in Tehran and included experts who had taken part in the pilot implementation and actual implementation of the Families and Schools Together (FAST) and Strengthening Families parenting  skills programmes in Iran.

The training was comprised of virtual instruction on how to conduct the seven sessions of the Strong Families Programme and training exercises in which the facilitators practiced conducting the various activities of each session. In addition, the training made use of an online platform created by UNODC, aimed at supporting the training of the facilitators and assisting the implementation of the programme. The online platform provides various resources, such as an interactive version of the programme manual, for facilitators to better understand the content of the programme, the manner in which they need to present it, as well as providing a means by which facilitators can communicate with each other as the implementation unfolds.

Given the success of the pilot implementation, UNODC in collaboration with DCHQ, MOE, and several Iranian NGOs will be expanding the implementation of the programme in Iran over 2022. It is anticipated that the programme will be conducted in the provinces of Tehran, Fars, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Lorestan, and Kermanshah. The present training, which was held for facilitators that will conduct the programme across Tehran province, is one of the first steps in the second phase of the implementation of the programme. The second phase was made possible through generous funding by the European Union.