Global Youth Forum: The Experience from Nairobi 

Mariam Oluwakemi Emmanuel

Mariam Oluwakemi Emmanuel

Mariam Oluwakemi Emmanuel is my name, a Bachelors degree holder in Cell Biology and Genetics and a Master’s of Science Degree Holder in Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Management. A trainer and recovery coach with Global Initiatives for Substance Abuse (GISA), a Non- governmental organization which is into prevention, treatment, recovery from substance abuse and capacity building. I was nominated alongside four other Nigerian Youths to be a participant at the 2018 joint NACADA-ISSUP International Conference and Workshop on Drug Demand Reduction which was held in Kenyatta international Convention Center (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya which took place from the 10th to the 14th of December. I was also privileged to be the only Nigerian nominated to be trained as a Training assistant to CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America) trainers which took place from the 6th to the 10th of December. The Youth Forum was coordinated by the Colombo Plan, Drug Advisory Program for youths between the ages 18-35 years.

 The youth forum focused on training young leaders of today putting to rest the rhetorical saying that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, a tomorrow that never comes. The qualities of good leadership were taught to us which include Integrity, Altruism, Courage and collaboration, making known that a leader must have good character traits instead of a good personality. This youth forum consisted of representatives from nineteen different African countries that consist of students, substance abuse prevention professionals, volunteers and people from different sectors, which gave us room to network and rub minds on means/ways to create a drug free community and to create a safe environment for the next generation which explains the need for youths to be a part of drug abuse prevention and policy making as we are the affected party.

 The main objective of this forum was to provide evidence-based knowledge, skills and strategies to help prevent substance abuse in our various communities. The forum also taught to dig deep into knowing my community and its problems before trying to proffer solutions, in order to do this, I was taught how to assess my community to figure out the problems and its strength, identify the risk factors/root causes, identify the local conditions and how to design comprehensive strategies/intervention maps to produce positive changes and outcomes in regards to the community problem.

 As a previous drug Abuser, this training gave me a clearer view of my vision which is to be a face against drug abuse and a face of change. It also fueled me into wanting to be a change and a doer not just a talker by taking actions as the ways to take such was taught to me by the trainers from CADCA. Being my first visit to Nairobi, Kenya, exploring it was so educating and also added to my need to be a solution to my community and Nation as a whole following the theme of the conference which was thinking Locally and acting Globally.

 This whole experience was a great opportunity and a big deal, for now I am driven to make a positive change and teach or share my experience and knowledge gotten from this forum to other youths. In as much as the experience was educating. It was also fun, thanks to our trainers and the training assistants. I am so energized and powered up so much so that I cannot wait to be a part of the next International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals’ (ISSUP) Youth Forum. Please join us as we raise GISA Youths Drug Free Ambassadors (GYDFA).

 Mariam Oluwakemi Emmanuel

oluwakmeiemmanuel@rocketmail.com

emmanuelm@gisainitiative.org

 Twitter and Instagram:           @GISA­_Initiative

WhatsApp: Join the GISA group - 07053486054

Vivian Dinchi Vongdoh

Vivian Dinchi Vongdoh

I am Vivian Dinchi Vongdoh a practicing Psychologist/Case manager in Quintessential Healthcare Centre Jos, Plateau State Nigeria. I have been in the field of treatment and management of substance use problems full time and part time in the area of prevention. Through the GLOBAL INITIATIVE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE (GISA), I attended the INTERNATONAL DRUG DEMAND REDUCTION CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP HELD AT THE KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya from December 10-14, 2018. I have come to realize that there is so much to be done in “PREVENTION” in discharging my duties in my work place. During clinical sessions, I have often heard clients say “nobody took the time to educate us about drugs. We only heard it was bad without explanations that it has short term “positive effect” and long term grievous consequence”.

At the opening ceremony of the 5 days conference, three speakers from various organizations presented papers with various topics. However my favourite was: Social and Individual Vulnerability for Substance Use Disorders: The Role of Inequalities by Gilberto Gerra, UNODC. I realized that people of lower economic class have more negative consequences to drug related issues. This conclusion was mind blowing to me.

 During the course of the forum I met people from different countries and was able to discuss their drug problems and what works. The facilitators of the youth forum taught us how to manipulate the environment where these problems occur, the agent which causes the problem and the host which is directly affected by the agent, highlighting that if all three were not present there would be no problem. I found this so educative, and in my practice I plan to apply this to manipulate the situation.

I was also taught on how to identify a local condition and how it directly affects my community, the risk factors involved which is basically to identify the host, agent and environment and effective strategies in taking action like providing information, building skills, providing support, change access and barriers, change incentives, change physical designs and change policies or rules.

Another great discovery for me is the need for the use of social media and humour such as using funny pictures to pass a message “your friends say take codeine u gree, take tramadol you gree and drug dependence saying come give me your mumu buttom” rather than always using scary pictures.

I know I have become more knowledgeable because of what I was taught during the conference and would want anybody either in treatment or prevention of substance use to seek for similar opportunity. Thanks again to GISA. It was a wonderful learning experience in the most comfortable environment which made learning fun, easy and awesome. I am ever ready and willing to share my experience beyond what I can document.

Vongdoh Vivian Dinchi

B.Sc. General and Applied Psychology, MSc Clinical Psychology in view, ICAP1

vivianvongdoh10@gmail.com

Twitter and Instagram:           @GISA­_Initiative

WhatsApp: Join the GISA group - 07053486054

Sandra Anyahaebi

Sandra Anyahaebi

My name is Sandra Anyahaebi. Through the Global Initiative on Substance Abuse (GISA), I attended the joint NACADA-ISSUP youth forum held on the 10th – 14th December, 2018 at the Kenyatta Intentional Convention center (KICC) Nairobi, Kenya.

 The purpose of the event was to give members of ISSUP the opportunity to learn from presentations, networking and training to add to their professional developments and also to allow non-members to engage with and join ISSUP.

 On the first day which was the opening ceremony, an overview was given on substance use including but not limited to people who are more at risk for non-medical use of controlled substances, treatments and preventions, why kids do drugs, how to say NO and  impacts of substance use on the economy.

 The Youth forum was organized by THE COLOMBO PLAN DRUG ADVISORY PROGRAMME for youths ages 18 to 35. The focus of the youth’s forum was to promote youth leadership in drug demand reduction by promoting youth led initiatives and its main objective was to provide knowledge, skills and strategies to enable young people develop action plans for preventions initiatives. I was opportune to be part of the amazing enlightening program, as it opened my eyes to how I can be more involved with prevention strategies in my community than I was before the conference. The facilitators and trainers of the youth forum taught us how to track a substance problem by addressing the host which is being affected, the agent causing the problem and most importantly and effectively manipulate the environment where the problem occurs, being that where these three are not present there would be no problem to begin with.

 I was able to meet people from over 19 countries, students, organizations and professionals who I learnt so much from during the course of this event and I am still learning from, getting to know what current drug related issues are evident within their societies and solutions being provided. At the end of the program youths from different communities all over the world including myself were able to develop action plans on prevention of substance use from all we were taught by our trainers, of which 3 groups were chosen for sponsorship of those action plans. The forum also encourages youth participants to collaborate with government, civil societies and among themselves for their project development and implementation. The closing ceremony was an eventful one where we were presented certificates.

 You can be part of these success stories and opportunities!

 Sandra Anyahaebi

B.Sc Psychology

sandraanyahaebi@gmail.com

anyahaebis@gisainitiative.org

Twitter and Instagram:           @GISA­_Initiative

WhatsApp: Join the GISA group - 07053486054

Doris Chika Obiano

Doris Chika Obiano

On the 9th of December, 2018 we started a journey to the Eastern part of Africa, Kenya Nairobi to be more precise. Thanks to GISA(Global Initiative on Substance Abuse), whose main aim is to have a drug free society for giving some of us Nigerian youths that great opportunity to get great on how to prevent substance use in our communities, without even paying for anything. It will surely bring a great impact in Nigeria no matter how little. The journey was sure very interesting. We even got to meet a Nigerian artist at the airport. The airline services were very good. We got to Nairobi, Kenya at 7:00pm. Kenya is two hours ahead of Nigeria. After the check in by the immigration, we took a taxi to Hilton hotel Nairobi, which is where we were booked to lodge for the week. The Hilton hotel is a five star hotel. Their services were very good and the rooms were extremely comfortable, our breakfast was also served by the hotel.

 The conference kicked off on the 10th of December with a general opening ceremony which started with some Kenyan dancers to make the event colorful. After that there were some presentations by experts on the increasing rate of substance use in Africa supported with statistics.

 After the opening ceremony, people went to their various sections of the conference. Ours was the youth forum, which was organized by the International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP), the Kenya National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) and the Colombo plan, all thanks to them. Youth forum comprised of youths from different countries especially Africa who are interested in making positive changes in their various communities. We had our trainers who were from Community Anti Drug Coalition of America (CADCA) and the Colombo plan, all thanks to them. CADCA is a Non-profit Organization that is committed to creating safe, drug-free communities globally. The first day was all about introducing themselves and the Assistant Trainers (TAs). They also gave us some motivating words like our 3 key words which are to Engage, Develop and Inspire. We were also made to know that we are: the leaders of today and not tomorrow.

 From the second day to the last day we were gradually working on our projects which requires group work with TA's assigned to supervise each group. It was emphasized by our trainers that our major aim was to prevent the use of substance in our various communities and not necessarily to treat the already affected people. So we were asked to be very specific with our project by using a particular community and using a particular substance mostly abused in the community. This is to enable easier and more effective prevention strategies. Our project according to the trainers must have an Agent which is the substance, a Host which is those affected by the substance and the Environment which is where the agent and the host usually meet. Using the experience to develop substance abuse prevention strategies was awesome. We are better equipped to provide solutions to substance abuse which is the motto of GISA. Generally it was a wonderful experience. I got to meet people from different countries and also made new friends. I got to learn a lot of new things. Thanks again to GISA for making this wonderful experience possible. We must be desirous to make positive change in our communities, to help build a drug free nation which is the major aim of GISA.

Follow us for similar opportunities.

 Obiano Chika Doris

Psychology student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka

mails2chika@gmail.com

Twitter and Instagram:           @GISA­_Initiative

WhatsApp: Join the GISA group - 07053486054

Olatunji Abiola Erinjogunola

Olatunji Abiola Erinjogunola

I am Olatunji Abiola Erinjogunola, a youth leader at Global Initiative on Substance Abuse (GISA). Through the help of this non-for-profit organization, I was nominated to be one of the five Nigerian youth participants at the 2018 joint NACADA – ISSUP international conference on drug demand reduction and workshop held at the Kenyatta international convention center (KICC), Nairobi from December 10-14, 2018. All thanks to GISA whose main aim is to have a drug free society, for giving me the great opportunity to be well grounded on how to prevent substance use in my community.

The youth forum was organized by Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program for youths, ages 18-35 years. The main focus of the forum was to provide youth leadership in drug demand reduction by promoting youth led initiative. The forum also encourages youth participation and collaboration with government, civil societies and other project developed and implementation. It was a great privileged for me to be one of the participants from Nigeria at the conference. It was an unforgettable experience in my life and I thank the organization for making me part of it.

The trip was my first outside the country which gave me the opportunity to interact with youths from deferent parts of the world with the zeal and commitment of building a future free of substance use and preventing the present generation from the use of substances. During the program I came to realize that youth is the key instrument to build a community free of substance and prevent a nation from the use and abuse of substances. We were made to understand that prevention is better than cure which drew our attention as youths that there are so much to be done in “prevention” than cure.

The main objectives of the forum was to provide knowledge, skill and strategies to enable young people to develop action plan for prevention initiative, the forum also encourages youth participation and collaboration with government, civil societies and other project developed and implementation. During the course of the youth forum I met youths from over 19 African countries, which comprises of students, organizations volunteers and professionals. We were able to relate and discuss on drug prevention and how to solve the existing drug problems and what works.

The trainers at the youth forum and their assistance trained us on how to identify a local condition and how it directly affects our communities, the risk factors involved which was basically identified as the host, agent and environment and effective strategies in taking action like providing information, building skills, providing support, change access and barriers, change incentives, change physical designs and change policies or rules.

I found the training as a great discovery and opportunity for me and as a need for me to arise and make a change in my community and build a community free of substance abuse. I am ready to share my experience from the program with the youth and adult of this great country, Nigeria so as to raise a generation free of substance use and prevent our land from the use and abuse of substances.

Olatunji abiola erinjogunola,

B.Sc. (Ed.) Political Science,

erinjogunolao@gisainitiative.org

abiola992@gmail.com

Twitter and Instagram:           @GISA­_Initiative

WhatsApp: Join the GISA group - 07053486054

 

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