LCIF and UNODC Test a Two-year Lions Quest Cycle in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Government of Republika Srpska and the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, launched Lions Quest in Bosnia and Herzegovina in March 2017. As part of the pilot implementation, more than 75 teachers received training on Lions Quest in order to conduct the program over the course of two academic years in 29 middle schools in Tuzla, Mostar, Sarajevo and Bijeljina, reaching more than 700 students in total.
…the benefits of [Lions Quest] are evident in helping students avoid and overcome stressful situations, peer pressure, family difficulties and even more.
The pilot program was designed as a field test of the Lions Quest material. Following the excellent results and feedback gathered on the program in Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, LCIF and UNODC ventured to test a two-year implementation modality in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to compare the effectiveness of the program when completed over a lengthier period.
LCIF and UNODC closely monitor Lions Quest throughout the pilot project. Qualitative feedback is gathered through the organization of several follow-up sessions where all teachers who are actively engaged in the program contribute feedback in order to improve our understanding of the effectiveness of program delivery, as well as to report on experienced challenges with program execution and best practices. Prior to commencing the pilot phase, a selected group of students (both case and control group) are interviewed to acquire baseline information on substance use, normative beliefs, refusal skills and intention to use substances. Post-test results collected at the close of the project are then evaluated to quantitatively assess changes for the set of indicators and obtain more information on the efficiency of the implemented intervention.
The pilot project in Bosnia and Herzegovina has already amassed a slew of positive feedback. Representatives from the relevant Ministries, both on entity and federal level, applauded the initiative and highlighted the value of the implementation of evidence-based programs that are closely aligned with the International Standards on Drug Use Prevention published jointly by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. At the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, one Lions Quest student from Bosnia and Herzegovina shared his experience with the audience stating that the benefits of the program are evident in helping students “avoid and overcome stressful situations, peer pressure, family difficulties and even more.” In his closing remarks, he stressed, “It’s your responsibility to implement the programs that make differences, and I say this is one of them.”
For additional information, please see the UNODC web story on the event available at www.unodc.org/southeasterneurope by Milos Stojanovic and Diane Sahakian. Additional follow-up sessions are planned for 2020, whereby the group will have an opportunity to discuss preliminary results of comparative analysis of pre- and post-test results among the intervention groups of the program, specifically on relevant epidemiological indicators targeting substance use. They will also give feedback on the local feasibility of the program and recommendations for further enhancement of the program for local use.
Ariel Dickson, is the Lions Clubs International Foundation regional specialist for Lions Quest programming in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.