Regional Meeting on the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence programme implementation in South-Eastern Europe

18-19 September 2023, Budva, Montenegro: The Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence (LQSFA) programme is an evidence-based prevention programme for young people aimed to help them develop various social and emotional skills, take responsibility, communicate effectively, make healthy decisions and resist substance abuse.

UNODC in collaboration with the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) has been implementing the LQSFA programme in South-Eastern Europe since 2014 gradually expanding to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia and reaching more than 10,500 students in over 210 elementary schools across the region.

In September, UNODC organized a two-day regional meeting bringing together delegations from each beneficiary country to take stock of results achieved to date through the LQSFA programme, plans for future implementation, sustainability of the programme, upcoming evaluation and capacity building of trainers. Over 40 representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia as well as LCIF representatives attended the meeting and presented ongoing prevention efforts, upcoming plans, possible challenges and suggestions for future implementation. The second part of the training aimed to have a group discussion on how to ensure the sustainability of the programme and identify potential implementation risks and related mitigation measures.

The participants also exchanged on lessons learned and agreed on the importance of maintaining the drug use prevention efforts in the region through the implementation of LQSFA and explored the possibility of establishing national level bodies to monitor programme delivery and ensure information exchange and the sharing of expertise.

Following a strict evidence-based implementation modality, the LQSFA programme proved to be effective and showed encouraging results in substance use reduction, the intention to use drugs and dissuasive effects on the engaged students on substance use in their local environment.