Wide-spread alcohol misuse amongst youth is a matter of grave concern in Namibia. In spite of this, public prevention measures to address this issue are still in the early stages of development. Blue Cross Namibia has stepped in to narrow this gap and is actively developing such preventive measures. Through its innovative, well-designed, and comprehensive school prevention programme it has effectively assisted many young people who are both directly or indirectly harmed by alcohol and/or illicit drugs.
Blue Cross Namibia Provides School-based Prevention for Students at Risk
Blue Cross Namibia launched its integrated school prevention programme in Windhoek in July 2009. The programme aims at providing young people with the facts they need to make informed decisions and to develop the “behavioural competence” to make preventive and protective choices against alcohol and illicit drug misuse. The following constitute the core aspects of the programme:
- Daily life skill classes – Blue Cross Namibia works alongside regular teaching staff in schools to provide life skills classes. These classes aim to develop the students’ psychosocial and interpersonal skills so that they are more effectively able to use negotiation, refusal, decision-making, and critical thinking skills.
- Counselling – Qualified social workers offer relevant counselling to high school students – i.e., 12 to 18 year olds – at Blue Cross centres with full regard for their confidentiality.
- Interactive educational activities – Students participate in club activities such as chess, dance, drama, and singing at school level. These activities are designed to help bring to light problems related to alcohol and illicit drug misuse.
After the successful initiation of the programme in three Windhoek high schools, Blue Cross Namibia expanded it to nine other high schools in the capital. Today, over 10.000 students are benefitting from the programme. 1700 students are actively involved in Blue Cross club activities. This is indeed an achievement worth sharing and growing!
The Namibian Context
- Recent research amongst Namibia’s youth showed that more than 50% of young people in the age group of 13-16 years have experimented with alcohol.
- In fact heavy and repeated binge drinking amongst teenagers is a wide-spread phenomenon and has unfortunately been on the rise.
- Easy access to alcohol amongst young people and minors remains a crucial causal factor that has not been adequately addressed.