International Forum on Substance Abuse
Press Release, 16th February 2011

Representatives from over 40 countries to gather in Cape Town, to discuss best practices to reduce alcohol and drug related harm – a fast growing global issue.

Cape Town will shortly be the venue of an international sharing and learning forum on evidence based and best practices in prevention and treatment of substance abuse, as well as in alcohol policy formulation. In a world, where more than 1 in 25 deaths a year are due to alcohol alone , and where alcohol and drugs create health burdens affecting hundreds of thousands of people, the significance of such an event cannot be overstated.

From the 21st to 25th February, experts, and project leaders and workers from over 40 Blue Cross organisations (NGOs) worldwide will attend the forum. This forum – organised by the International Federation of the Blue Cross (IFBC) – is part of an ongoing learning programme to empower practitioners to develop professionally, strengthen networks, and transfer new learning effectively into actual practice.

One of the Federation’s key members is Blue Cross South Africa which – together with Blue Cross Namibia and Lesotho – has recently been at the forefront of initiating innovative prevention and treatment projects in Southern Africa.

IFBC is a leading umbrella body representing member-organisations dealing with substance abuse. The Federation, working through its secretariat in Bern, Switzerland, aims to respond efficiently to the increasing demand for quality prevention and treatment services on the local level and for evidence and best practice based alcohol policy formulation at national and international levels.

In everything it does, the Federation fundamentally wishes to draw positive and dignified attention to the issues faced by people affected by alcohol and drug related harm; best exemplified by these words from Martina, a former alcoholic who successfully underwent therapy in another Blue Cross therapy centre, she says: “The effect the Blue Cross approach has had on me is striking: for the first time in my life I feel less guilty and alone.”

It is to this end, that the international learning and sharing forum in Cape Town will be a powerful tool to enable projects that are sustainable, replicable and scalable and have a deep impact on the lives of people affected by substance abuse.

Mr Khosa, President of Blue Cross South Africa, comments that “it is a privilege for South Africa to be able to host such an important forum. It will make a real difference to this challenging problem”.

For further information about Blue Cross South Africa, please contact Mr Meehleketo Khosa, President of Blue Cross South Africa, at +27833 991 322; [email protected]

For further information about the International Federation of the Blue Cross and its Forum on Substance Abuse, please contact Dr Anthony Kasozi, Deputy Secretary General IFBC, at + 44 7500 971603 or [email protected] .

IFBC – “MNT” (Multinational Training): A Learning and Development Programme
January 2010 – January 2012

As part of an ongoing strategy for supporting member organisations to develop effective projects, the International Federation of the Blue Cross (IFBC) offers an ongoing training and development programme in a number of essential core areas to its member organisations around the world, which are:

•Treatment and Counselling
•Leadership and Management
•Organisational and Project Development
•Alcohol Policy
•PR, Advocacy and Fundraising

The MNT programme is a learning and development programme designed following a thorough needs assessment of Blue Cross practitioners and leaders. The overall programme aim is to empower and enable Blue Cross practitioners and leaders from around the world to develop professionally, strengthen networks, and to transfer new learning effectively into actual practice. As a result of this strengthening of practitioners’ skills and practice, the MNT will support the implementation of Blue Cross (TVC) projects that noticeably and tangibly improve the prospects and lifestyles of people harmed by alcohol and drug dependence.

Learning Approach

The MNT learning approach uses face to face interactions as well as distance and virtual learning to encourage ongoing reflection and review. It emphasises the importance of practice oriented learning owned and driven by participants. It is designed and facilitated by experienced professionals who are knowledgeable in the core areas and are skilled learning facilitators and trainers.

Multinational Training Workshop in Cape Town, South Africa

21 – 25 February 2011

The MNT Workshop in Cape Town is a follow on from the workshop held in March 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand, and is intimately linked to the ongoing Action Learning Group and MNT Web Conference activities. It provides an opportunity for MNT participants to deepen their learning by further connecting the teachings received in Bangkok, as well as the common understanding of best practices in leadership, ethics and management – developed previously within the Action Learning Groups – to their daily practice in the field. In addition, the MNT Workshop will allow participants to connect with people with identical or similar professional interest and thereby strengthen and widen their network.

Accordingly, the MNT Workshop approach in Cape Town focuses in particular on practice-oriented input and questions raised by the participants around the core topics. The latter will be discussed within small groups facilitated by experts from in- and outside the IFBC. These discussion rounds or “clinics” will lead to the establishment of interest groups which will pursue their dialogue beyond the MNT workshop.

Detailed information on the MNT Workshop programme will be provided in due course on the IFBC e-learning portal.

Key Activities Up to Date – Summary
January/February 2010
•Need Assessment among participants of the Multinational Training

March 2010
•Multinational Training Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand
•Set up of Virtual Action Learning Groups during the workshop

From April 2010
•Ongoing virtual learning on leadership, ethics and management within the expert-facilitated Action Learning Groups and on the IFBC e-Learning Portal.

January/February 2011
•Learning and sharing of fundamental principles and best practices on prevention of alcohol and/or drug related harm.

(This initial MNT cycle is not open to the general public.)

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