Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

First Cycle of Strengthening Families Programme is Launched in Ashgabat

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 14-17 May 2018

Science proves that children of parents that have a warm parenting style and know where their children are and what they are doing are 5 times less likely to use drugs and get involved in crime. What is more, a close trustful relationship in the family reduces drug use by adolescent by 20 %.

The UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries conducted a training of facilitators as a part of the "Strengthening Families Programme for youth aged 10-14" (SFP 10-14) that aims to reduce drugs and crime among children. The training introduces SFP 10-14 in Turkmenistan for the first time, meaning six of the eight countries in West and Central Asia have now introduced this programme. The training launches the first cycle of the SFP 10-14 in Turkmenistan, during which new trainers will teach life skills 10- to 14-year-olds and improve the parent-child relationship.

Twenty-five teachers of two pilot schools in Ashgabat, specialists of the Ministry of Health of Turkmenistan and NGOs participated in training sessions. The training was facilitated by international trainers from Oxford University, UK.

Now, the facilitators are ready to ensure the implementation of the SFP 1 by conducting seven training sessions in the pilot schools. During the school sessions, the participants will be given instruction on various communication, problem-solving, and perspective-taking skills. Among other topics, parents will learn about appropriate disciplinary practices, how to manage strong emotions, and how to communicate effectively with their children. The adolescents will learn skills on dealing with peer pressure (refusal skills) and other personal and social skills, including management of stress, and problem solving. Moreover, families (pupils and their parents) will practice conflict resolution and communication skills, and be engaged in activities designed to improve family bonds.

Evidence suggests that local adaptation of the SFP 10-14 makes the programme more efficient and effective in prevention of crime and drug abuse among youth. This year, the first activity within the framework of SFP coincided with the celebration of International Day of Families.

The SFP 10-14 is a part of the UNODC global project on "Prevention of drug use, HIV/AIDS and crime among young people through family skills training programmes in low- and middle-income countries." It has also been implemented in other Central Asian countries as well as the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan and Iran with the support of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries and Programme for Central Asia.

In Turkmenistan the SFP 10-14 is implemented within the framework of the Sub-Programme 3 of the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries and funded by the EU.