Country: Sierra Leone
Occupation: Student in Economics
Project name: Drug Abuse Prevention Workshop for Young People in Sierra Leone
This project aims at sensitizing one hundred young people in Sierra Leone about the evil effect of drug abuse. The major strategy through which such aim will be achieved is via workshops, radio discussion, prevention walk and finally a cross section of the young people will be taken to the Kissy mental home in order to witness and experience the end result of this abuse of drugs.
Sensitize young people about the danger of drugs and equip them with good prevention methods.
The major ingredient needed to achieve our goals was education and information. It was possible to transmit the message to young people of Sierra Leone that drug use can destroy one’s future and render the fabric of the country bleak. This was achieved through the collective effort of health experts, facilitators and the participants themselves. As planned by the end of 2009, one hundred young persons was taught drug abuse prevention.
Successes and challenges
Judging from the responses on the phone-in programme we had on Radio,the awareness was created nation-wide and the willingness on the part of the young people to say no to drug abuse was amazing. Young people who were once vulnerable to drug abuse stood up to say: ‘I cannot be influenced to choose such a way of life for the sake of my future and my country’. We received compliments in all the places we held our activities saying it is the time action.
Funding was a permanent challenge.
How many people were involved?
The core group consisted of 25 people
What did you learn personally?
“The most important lesson I learnt from implementing that project is that we need a collective effort in tackling a menace to society, like drugs. The success of the project depended largely on the support we had of elder members of the church and community, not just the young people. I realised that if we had not engaged in such campaign, the future of the country will be indeterminable. This is true, not just for Sierra Leone, but the entire sub-region of West Africa as recent studies indicate that the region is used as a transit point for drugs to Europe and America. Of course, the most vulnerable group in such ill-trade are the young people.
I also learned that it can be difficult to bring people together for a common goal. But the issue of drug was/is a concern for a post war country like Sierra Leone and so opposing sides-specifically those involved in its use levied their interest and support for the project.
In addition, I learned that a project can only achieve its desired goals with proper planning. There were times during the implementation of the project when we had to resist tendencies to go beyond the scope of the project. For instance at the mid of the implementation of the project, we started receiving suggestions that we should start targeting the active drug users. But conscious of the fact that it is another great deal, we focused on the preventive group.”