Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

The First Regional Webinar on
“Parenting skills during the COVID-19 pandemic”

The first regional webinar on parenting skills during the COVID-19 pandemic was held online, on the 24th November 2020, by the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries (RP), in partnership with the Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) of UNODC headquarters as well as UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia (ROCA). The webinar was built upon the previous concerted efforts undertaken in implementing family skills programmes, including SFP 10-14 in the region, West and Central Asia.  

The main objectives in organizing this webinar were to build the capacity of drug prevention professionals, including SFP 10-14 trainers/facilitators, to further support youth and their families during the pandemic, and to guide policymakers and other regional and national stakeholders in developing programmes, policies and systems that are a truly effective investment in the future of youth and communities.

Taking advantage of organizing the meeting online, more than 70 participants from eight regional programme countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), including UNODC senior DDR experts, SFP 10-14 facilitators and government officials attended the webinar. 

During the opening ceremony, Mr Jeremy Milsom, Senior Programme Coordinator for the Regional Programme as well as Ms Giovanna Campello, chief of the PTRS, highlighted the importance of introducing scientific evidence-based interventions on drug dependence prevention during the pandemic.

Three expert panelists joined the seminar. Dr. Wadih Maalouf, Global Programme Coordinator on drug use prevention from UNODC PTRS, Dr Karin Haar, UNODC consultant on Family Skills Initiative and Dr Aala El-Khani, Senior lecturer from Manchester university and UNODC consultant on Family Skills Initiative. Dr Wadih Maalouf discussed the value of family and parenting skills in the context of multiple targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reviewed the evidence-based family skills programmes recently launched and implemented by UNODC in the region, including, “Family United”, “Strong Families” and “Listen First”. In the second part, Dr Karin Harr provided the participants with a presentation on the current state of evaluation on the impact of family/parenting skills, globally and with a focus on the West and Central Asia. Finally, Dr Aala El-Khani delivered a speech on parenting and the complications of COVID19. She further discussed the new challenges being faced by families, new vulnerabilities and newly developed tools and how these tools could be disseminated.

At the end of the webinar, the participants were provided with an opportunity to raise their questions and comments. The very positive feedback from the participants illustrated the effectiveness of the webinar in terms of allowing the exchange of current experiences and enhancing knowledge and skills on parenting skills during these unprecedented times.

Thanks are extended to the Government of Finland and the European Union for supporting this activity.