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Youth And Drugs: a Red Cross and Red Crescent approach
Start date: Mar 1, 2015, End date: Feb 28, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The overall goal of the project is to promote and support the development of transnational cooperation activities and partnerships among Red Cross and Red Crescent young volunteers from different regions of the world. The specific objectives are: - to build and strengthen skills and capacity of RC/RC young volunteers in drug abuse prevention and harm reduction programmes;- to improve the quality of youth work and volunteering in the field of drug abuse, through cooperation, networking and exchange of best practices; - to foster social inclusion and active participation of young people in the society as means to promote healthy lifestyles and behaviours;- to develop specific training tools and materials for peer-education activities in the field of drug abuse prevention;- to support the establishment of national platforms on joint cooperation of volunteer-based organizations. All over the world, RC/RC National Societies are the major and best-known volunteering organization, able to actively involve thousands of young people in different activities and programmes. This represents an enormous resource and value; the engagement of young people in volunteering can contribute to fill the gaps in the health and social sector and improve the well-being of society. Young volunteers can be very well involved in activities targeting vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of population, such as elderly, children and problematic or risk youth. In particular, it has been widely evaluated and demonstrated the effectiveness of peer-to-peer approach in substance abuse prevention programmes. Therefore, many RC/RC Societies have started to carry out activities in the field of drug abuse prevention and/or social assistance to people who use drugs. However, clear guidelines on the role of youth volunteers and youth workers in this kind of programmes are still missing, and this leads to the use of different and sometimes divergent approaches. The project aims to solve this specific need, training youth volunteers from different countries on same working methods and developing common training tools and materials to be used and adapted in different contexts and social environments. To this regard, the participating organizations are RC/RC National Societies from different countries and regions: Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Thailand, Kenya and Uruguay. Young volunteers from all these countries will participate in join capacity building activities held by the application organization, Villa Maraini Foundation, in Rome. This will allow them to exchange experiences, identify common strengths and weaknesses in their working methods and improve mutual knowledge and skills. The expected outcomes of the project will be an increase of young people engaged in volunteering activities and the strengthening of the role of volunteer-based organizations in the society; new tools and youth work methods tested and implemented; national platforms of volunteer-based organizations created.

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