UNODC strengthens the role of youth in preventing drug abuse in Cabo Verde

According to the Cabo Verde's National Integrated Programme (NIP) for the fight against Drugs and Related Crimes (2018-2023) adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the use of drugs and alcohol. The NIP highlights how around 41,3% of drug users in Cabo Verde are between 15 and 24 years old and the average age for the first contact with drugs is 17 years old and how around 45,4% of students have admitted they have tried alcohol at least once in their lives. Therefore, the UNODC prevention efforts target youth in Cabo Verde.

UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their efforts to fight drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism. Within this mandate and in line with the UNODC's Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020), one of the objectives of UNODC's POCV is to prevent, reduce and minimize the effects related to drug use in the country. In line with the Cabo Verde NIP for the fight against Drugs and Related Crimes, the UNODC assisted the Coordinating Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CCAD), in delivering a training which took place on 3 rd October 2019. Thirty adolescents from the community of Cobon, where many cases of alcohol and other drug abuse among youth have been reported, took part in the training.

This activity addressed the issue of discrimination and stigma of drug and alcohol dependents and aimed at empowering the youth by preparing them to support their peers who might be struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. In this way youth can have a direct positive impact on their communities. The content of the training covered the basic concepts of drug addition, addressing topics such as the causes and consequences of chemical dependency.

 

                                           
   
Participants during the training.

"Substance abuse affects society as a whole, and the only way we will be able to address it is together, as a community", reiterated UNODC Programme Office in Cabo Verde (POCV) senior coordinator, Cristina Andrade. Peer education is an effective tool for promoting healthy behaviors among adolescents, in this sense, this training activity aimed to strengthen the prevention of drug use, to highlight the importance of the "multiplier" role and the advantages of peer education.

In order to prepare the youngsters for real life situations, a "how to advise" simulation was also delivered. As a result, the 30 participants were empowered with tools and knowledge they will be able to use to support others in the prevention of alcohol and drug use in their community. Participants also shared delicate situations they faced with their families and loved ones and said these approaches will help them to overcome barriers in their community.

   
  Group photo of the participants to the training.
 
Image of the façade of the centre where the training was held, which reads in Crioulo "we all have to do our part in the community…".

This activity is in line with Cabo Verde's Strategic Sustainable Development Plan (PEDS) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) to promote programs to reduce drug and alcohol consumption, especially among young people in vulnerable situations. Raising awareness among youth about drug abuse issues contributes to  the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.5, which aims "to strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol" and to the UN's transformative pledge to "leave no one behind" under the 2030 Agenda. 

For more information:

The web-story is also available in Portugese

UNODC's support to the National Integrated Programme for the Fight Against Drugs and Related Crimes in Cabo Verde

UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020)

Mid-Term Report UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa