Preventing Alcohol and Drug Use among Children at Risk in Nepal CWIN Experience Sumnima Tuladhar
Integration of ADD in CWIN In Nepal, FORUT collaborated with CWIN from June 1995, to address children's rights with focus on protection of girls’ rights and self reliance of young people at risk. Local Action (now ADD) was introduced in CWIN in 1999 as knowledge based project aiming at prevention of the use of alcohol and drugs through social action. Since then CWIN has integrated the issues of alcohol, tobacco and drug use among children into all of its programmes of action, including policy advocacy.
Working with Children at Risk Children working and living in risk situations are often exposed to highly destructive life conditions. The consumption of tobacco, drugs and alcohol is a well known phenomenon to these children. Most of them without responsible adult guidance end up in situations from where it becomes difficult for them to exit. To most of them substance use is a factor that contributes to worsening their situation. Thus it’s a challenge to work with children at risk to prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco and drug use.
Factors Influencing Children Individual psychology/ circumstances which encourage compulsion Values attached to the image of happiness, socialisation and substances considered as anti- depressants Use within family: zMembers of family using tobacco / parents sending children to buy cigarettes/ consent from parents to use tobacco/ becomes learned behaviour Peer Pressure: zPressure/ increasing competition among peers/ group cultures/ bullying Psychological factors zIndividual psycho-social problems/ circumstances which encourage compulsion zImage of smoking attached to happiness, success, socialisation and also anti-depressant
Environment zOpen use of tobacco in society, neighbourhood/ use of tobacco in socio-cultural events and celebrations normalising its use Availability zOpen sale of tobacco in communities, local shops/ No restriction in sale of tobacco to children zLack of Effective Laws zLack of effective laws and regulations zLack of adequate laws and monitoring in restriction of selling and advertisement encourage children to use tobacco.
Socio-Psychological Factors zAdvertisements/ Promotions Glamorous portrayal of tobacco in mass media and cinema as a synonymous for success or as anti- depressant Open advertisements of various tobacco products mostly targeting on youth. Sponsorship of public events and sports, music and entertainment events by tobacco companies zUse by role models Smoking in public or in mass media by role models of children such as the film or sports stars, politicians, teachers, parents, doctors or lawyers, etc
CWIN Prevention Strategy zCWIN takes a comprehensive approach to prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug use among at risk children in Nepal. zSince CWIN runs both broad based and specific programmes to support survival and empowerment of children, it has been possible to have such comprehensive approach. zCWIN’s strategy for preventing children at risk from substance use is a combination of: zCreating and strengthening Information and knowledge base z National level policy advocacy and awareness campaigns zOrientations and Trainings for both social workers and children zEmpowerment of children/children’s participation/peer education zSupport for socialisation, social reintegration and self-reliance CWIN has integrated the ADD issue into all of its programmes of action and also has been running specific department to focus on the issue with specific attention
Initiation of Researches zAzAlcohol and Drug Use in Nepal with reference to Children - 1999-2001 zAzAlcohol and Drug Use among Children at Risk in Nepal - 2001 zGzGlue Sniffing Among Street Children in the Kathmandu Valley- 2003 zIzImpact of Alcohol and Tobacco Advertisements on Children – 2004 Policy advocacy/Lobbying Organised National Debate/discussions on the issue to bring attention of policy makers / Organised delegations to concerned authorities and Ministry of health for implementation of laws and regulations Organised pressure groups for formulation of progressive law Organised interactions with business community/ advertising agencies, celebrities and the alcohol/tobacco industry to draw their attention on minimising harm against children Research and Advocacy
Orientation and Training Training / Orientation Training/orientation for Community conscientisers of CWIN Members of Child Rights Forums Street Theatre Groups Field workers/social workers from CR organizations Integration of orientation discussion session within the empowerment interventions zEvery year CWIN organises a month long training course for children at risk 9including the street children) and a separate training on adolescent education. In both these trainings alcohol, drugs and development is integrated as one of the main topics for discussion which encourage children/adolescents to zBe informed about hazards and stay away from it zBe smart and learn to say NO to peer pressure zShare their experience zGet help when needed zGet associated with child clubs or groups for support
Awareness Publications / IEC materials Publication and dissemination of fact-sheets/pictorial Production and dissemination of posters/ stickers /leaflets Street Drama Campaign Regular Street Drama performed in the streets, and work places Performed in the market place Performed in the bus park/ public parks Performed in the school premises (Govt. and private) Picnics/Hiking zOrganise picnics with children as an entry point to initiate dialogue with street children and working children about the issue of alcohol, tobacco and drugs zOrganise various recreational activities with messages to stop use of substances
Children’s Participation Role of Child Rights Forums zCWIN works with more than 300 child rights forums or child clubs in Nepal actively engaged in child rights work zMany such clubs have started their own initiations to minimise use of alcohol and tobacco in their communities. They are raising awareness among their peers and other children around and the community people about substance hazards. zChildren are gradually emerging as effective counter forces against tobacco use zInfluence peers, parents, teachers and other adults to quit drinking and smoking zPut pressure on local governments to create alcohol and tobacco-free society for children
Social Mobilisation Mobilisation of Peer Educators Since peer pressure is found to be one of the push factors for at risk children to do drugs and alcohol, CWIN started involving peer educators in the field to bring awareness and support children needing help to get rid of their habits and raising awareness on HIV to minimise risk Using Celebrities/Social Activists as Role Models Invite celebrities/ role models for children to interact with them, learning, sharing their expereinces to motivate children to stay away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco
Self-reliance and Social Reintegration zProvide platform for former drug users and young people living with HIV to bring change in their lives, to integrate in society zProvide vocational and skill trainings zAssist in job placements zProvide support for group entrepreneurship/ small business toolkit training zSupport for family contacts/ citizenship zPut in contact with relevant organisations for further support
Challenges zRapid increase in substance use by children and adolescents (increasing number of girls), particularly smoking and drinking at increasingly early ages zImproper environment leading children working and living in risk situations such as child workers and street children to the habit and addiction to tobacco and alcohol use zWorking environment for these children contribute to children falling into addictions zUse of tobacco and alcohol also resulting in such children’s use of mild drugs including glue sniffing and up to hard core drugs zSmoking and alcohol use among young people living with HIV, worsening their health status
Challenges zChildren living in risk situations tend to resort to alcohol, drug use to escape from adverse life they live zLack of drugs rehabs for at risk children, no family support, disintegrated families pose as a great challenge for social reintegration zLack of awareness among families of children about harms of passive smoking and impact of alcohol use to children zLack of broader understanding on the issue that use of tobacco and alcohol leads to further poverty in poor families which results in deprivation of children’s rights from fundamental rights like health and education. zWeak implementation of existing laws and no governmental intervention for social reintegration of young people at risk with addictions