The challenge that the project addresses
Drug and substance abuse is a menace in Zimbabwe destroying the lives of young people. It is more prevalent in urban and peri urban areas. Research has shown prevalence of drug abuse is at 57% among young people. Peer pressure, breakdown of the family support system, lack of entertainment, limited knowledge about the effects of drug abuse and stress are the major factors that drive substance and drug abuse among the youth. This has resulted in young people developing mental problems, some missing school and others becoming violent, risk sexual practices and poor health seeking behaviors and death.
What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?
Through the Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative we are disseminating information on the effects of drug and substance abuse and providing referrals for drug users who want to quit drug abuse and are in need of rehabilitation. We host Learning Sessions in schools around Zimbabwe, we also host a Music and Sports Festival to bring larger numbers of young people so that we can educate them on drug and substance abuse. We also run a Resource and Drop In Centre in Kuwadzana Harare, where young people can obtain information about drug abuse and participate in the different activities at the centre including games and health talks.
Describe the project's impact
To date we have date we have reached out to 6000 young people with information on drug and substance abuse, we have partnered with 17 schools to conduct in-school Learning Sessions at least once per each school term. We have managed to set up a Resource and Drop In Centre in Kuwadzana which is a safe and friendly space for young people to interact and participate in our health talks and health lifestyle games. One “Tatenda” (not real name) a 24-year-old young man who was abusing drugs, participated in our Sports Festival in Kuwadzana and after the festival we reached out to seek help on how to stop drug abuse and we linked, and he started rehab. We are also involved in advocacy with the government and law enforcement for stiffer penalty and arrests of those involved in trafficking, distribution and manufacturing of drugs and substances as it has become a lucrative illegal business for some while destroying the future of young people and children.
We hope to increase our reach and engage more schools with our Learning Sessions and also start out of school Learning Sessions to benefit those young people who are out of school. We also going to furnish our Kuwadzana Resource and Drop in Centre with more resources and equipment so that it becomes more attractive to young people thereby more young people can continue to visit the centre and get help as well as participate in our health talks. We are also going to host more events such as the Music and Sports Festivals as well as engaging artist as brand ambassadors to shun drug and substance abuse. Part of the money is going to be used for two income generating projects which are broiler, layers rearing and a gardening project which we have already secured agricultural tools from Tools With A Mission UK.