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Volunteers from local community receive training for community-based care on drugs use

Yangon (Myanmar), 29 April 2019
- As the legal and policy environment is changing in Myanmar, an increase of drug treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration services for drug users across the country is needed. Therefore, UNODC, in partnership with the Ministry for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, the Department of Rehabilitation, and several local partners supported trainings on community-based treatment across Myanmar. It is important that rehabilitation services are designed and provided in a scientific evidence-based manner in line with international standards and best practices. The role of the community is very important for people who have returned from drug treatment and rehabilitation centers and assisting them in the process of social reintegration is an important task where the role of the community is essential.

Community-based volunteers provide necessary assistance in the processes of treatment and follow up on people with drug dependence and helping them to reintegrate effectively into the community. In order to improve the service of community-based volunteers, capacity strengthening is very important. The main objective of community capacity strengthening is to provide local communities with information to help people who use drugs and are affected by drug use. UNODC has been providing trainings to volunteers from local communities. The comprehensive training on community-based services used the training package developed by UNODC's Regional Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

In partnership with Department of Rehabilitation and Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, the Volunteer Social Workers Association (VSWA) supports aftercare services for drug users. VSWA is an NGO in Myanmar composed of community volunteers. VSWA specifically helps with processing referrals of clients who want to get drug treatment at rehabilitation services.

From July 2018 to March 2019, UNODC supported six trainings at five different places; Loikaw in Kayah State, Laukkai in Shan North, Myitkyina, Hpakhant in Kachin State and Nay Pyi Taw. Additionally, UNODC provided a refresher training for active volunteers who provide community-based care and supports at the Mandalay Rehab Center.

Overall, through the partnership with VSWA and Department of Rehabilitation 254 new volunteers (197 men and 57 women) were trained. These trainings will help members and leaders of the local communities to understand the nature of the drug problem and will provide them with an insight of what the communities should focus on. It will also help them in preparing support for affected members of the communities without causing any further harm. In receiving these trainings, local communities have a better understanding of the drug problem and learn how to use locally available resources to provide necessary treatment services.