UNODC empowers sports trainers to build resilience of at-risk youth in South Africa

A group photo of the participants at the training, together with the international trainer, Oihana Rementeria


In September 2017, UNODC and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCDCAS), started to train sports coaches to implement the newly developed Line Up Live Up (LULU) curriculum for youth crime and drug use prevention.

This training forms part of UNODC's Global Programme to implement the 2015 Doha Declaration on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which places an emphasis on crime prevention initiatives aimed at youths at risk of committing offences. It also links to the Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 16, the former calling for sustainable cities and communities, the latter promoting peace, justice and strong institutions.

In South Africa UNODC plans to pilot the implementation of its LULU curriculum for youth in Cape Town and Johannesburg in early 2018, through a thorough process and impact assessment to measure its efficiency. Currently UNODC is implementing its pre-pilot phase to evaluate the programme's feasibility.

15 coaches from South Africa's Western Cape's "Mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth" (MOD) Programme were trained in Cape Town on the LULU methodology through a set of interactive sessions consisting of theoretical lessons on risk and protective factors relating to positive social behaviour in youth, the impact of sports, and practical exercises contained within the LULU curriculum. Coaches are viewed as "after-school game changers" who provide sports coaching to youth at public schools from the rural West Coast and urban Kraaifontein districts in the Western Cape. Both areas have relatively high crime and drug-use rates.


LULU coaches implement an activity from the LULU sports-based curriculum © UNODC/J. de Haan

Particular attention was given to processing and debriefing, which facilitates learning by allowing youth to link knowledge and skills acquired through various activities, to challenges faced in everyday life. Therefore, the LULU training offers coaches and social workers to use sport as a vehicle of social and personal skills development, by addressing individual crime and drug risk factors. Sport also engages at-risk youth to build their resilience to violence, drug use and crime.

Oihana Rementeria, a life-skills training expert supporting UNODC in the design and delivery of LULU highlighted the enthusiasm amongst coaches "It is great to interact with such motivated trainers and talk about risk and protective factors related to youth crime and drug use. They work in communities that experience difficulties, they know the problems that exist there, and are well-placed to provide safe spaces for young people to develop healthy lives, free from violence and drug use."

Ashlin September, a MOD centre participant, said: "…in some places, children are so used to gang shootings, they don't even duck anymore. As sport coaches, we want to be part of the solution to the gang problem in our society and we think this course helps us to do just that."

The LULU coaches and a Grassroots Soccer Multiplier discuss the implementation of sports activities © UNODC/ Haan

The certified trainers will implement LULU to youth in their respective districts as a continuation of the pre-pilot, whilst also receiving mentoring support from UNODC at his/her school. In parallel and throughout the 2018 pilot UNODC also plans to provide complimentary awareness-raising activities, in addition to providing NGOs and community-based organisations an opportunity to use the LULU curriculum in their daily work.