Brazilian families join the first day of activities of UNODC pilot project for preventing drug use

Families drawing together

Brasília, 29 August 2013 - Eighteen families turned up yesterday at Planaltina's social assistance center, in Brazil's Federal District, to attend the first day of activities of a pilot project launched this week, which works on family relationships to prevent drug use among children.

This first meeting with the participating families is part of the training of the teams of social workers, psychologists, teachers and members of the community, which will implement the pilot project of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the social assistance centers that serve the communities of Planaltina, Samambaia, Sol Nascente and Estrutural, all in the Federal District. While the team from Planaltina held its first session with the families, professionals and community members from the other three social assistance centers observed how the activities actually played out.

McDonald and Silva welcome the participants

The UNODC consultant who created the project's methodology, Dr. Lynn McDonald, and the coordinator of the Planaltina social assistance center, Isac Almeida Silva, welcomed the participants, who were divided in three rooms. Silva praised the methodology, which "gives more autonomy to families and allows them to discover alternatives that work for each one, thus creating families which are more empowered and less dependent on social assistance."

During the meeting, each family drew a flag that represented them and presented it to the rest of the group. Afterwards, everyone had a snack together and learned a song. The adults were able to get to know each other, while the children played outside. The last activity of the morning was the raffle of a basket with toys, games and materials such as crayons and colored papers.

Children enjoy the snacks during the meeting

Ana Lidia dos Santos was accompanied by her mother, Mariene Moreira dos Santos, and her children, Suyane, ten years old, João, seven years old, and Ana Clara and Ingrid, both two years old. She said she plans to return on the following weeks: "It was good because we can interact and overcome the shyness to express ourselves, sing and do something outside our houses."

Elzicleide Albuquerque Silva works at the Center for Psychosocial Care of Children in Sobradinho, also in the Federal District, and was one of the professionals under training who assisted the families. She felt privileged to be part of the first group to learn this methodology. "The most important thing is to rescue the family values ​​that society has lost," said Silva.

Today it was time for the team from the Planaltina social assistance center to split up in order to observe the sessions with families in the other three centers. Tomorrow a ceremony will be held to mark the end of the week-long training, in which participants will receive their certificates.

Children play outside the center

The pilot project is the result of a partnership between UNODC, the National Secretariat for Drug Policy, the State Secretariat of Justice (Sejus) and the State Secretariat of Social Development and Income Transfer (Sedest) of the Federal District. Up to 130 families will benefit from it in the next two months, with weekly meetings in the four social assistance centers.

The project's methodology has already been implemented by UNODC as part of the global Family Skills programme, which reached over 5,000 families in almost 20 countries. Evaluations indicate that about 80% of the participants attend all meetings and maintain contact with other families after the project is over. Results such as increased sociability, improved academic performance and greater parent involvement in schools, as well as a decrease in conflicts, aggressive behavior and anxiety, were also observed.

Related information:

UNODC launches pilot project in Brazil to prevent drug use by strengthening family relationships

New UNODC project will strengthen family ties to prevent drug abuse

UNODC family skills training tools

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