LCIF and UNODC Expand Partnership Efforts to Schools in West Africa
In December 2019, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) expanded the Lions Quest partnership to middle schools in Côte d’Ivoire. Eighty-four teachers were trained to use the Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence program with their students in order to build coping skills for facing life’s challenges.
These schools will be responsible for providing crucial feedback for further adaptation and regional expansion of the program.
Drug trafficking in the region is intensifying every day, increasing the availability of drugs in local communities. As a result, the youth population is at a high risk of being exposed to drug use and other risky behaviors. The latest national study of drug use among the student population in Côte d’Ivoire indicates that the mean age of onset of drug use ranges from 13.9 years to 14.7 years. Nearly half of students (47.3%) reported having used alcohol at least once in their lifetime by age 13.
In order to reduce negative behaviors among this high-risk group, LCIF and UNODC have joined forces with the Ivoirian Ministry of Education and the local Lions clubs to deliver Lions Quest. The Ministry and local Lions worked diligently to review and adapt the curriculum for local use as well as to select 20 schools in Côte d'Ivoire to participate in the project. These schools will be responsible for providing crucial feedback for further adaptation and regional expansion of the program. As part of the pilot, teachers will implement the Lions Quest program over the course of two academic years with students ages 12-13.
Ariel Dickson, is the Lions Clubs International Foundation regional specialist for Lions Quest programming in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.