The purpose of this workshop was to explain the rational to advocate for the development of the youth empowerment programme in Male’ and Addu Atoll.
The meeting started outlining objectives of the workshop by NNCB and UNICEF
Introduction and icebreaking was by David and Joyce from Yakita
Journey, an anti drug NGO made presentation on “Situation of drugs (increase in number of youth and adolescents on drug, relapse and its implications”. The most common form of drug abuse in Maldives has been by smoking. Heroin (brown sugar) is the most preferred drug and then they turn to hash oil. But now it seems that most of the people switch to injecting drugs. A survey (Rapid Assessment Survey) carried out in 2003 does not show any signs of injecting drug users however a re survey in 2006 revealed a number of injecting drug users. In August 2006 there was a dramatic increase in the number of injecting drug users and 7 over dose deaths were notified. There’s a growing concern on increase in HIV and Hepatitis C positive patients.
Increase in juvenile delinquency has been noted. Most of them come out of jail as drug addicts.
Some of the factors leading to relapse that we discussed in the meeting were.
Easy availability of drugs in the society
Weak support system
Lack of proper after care
Lack of recreational activities
Some of the programmes which would benefit the society are parental programmes, communication, peer education.
After the break, David and Joyce discussed the after care programmes being carried out at Yakita, Indonesia. “Drugs, Relapse, HIV/AIDS and Youth Empowerment Programme – Yakita’s model”. A replica of which will be carried out in the Maldives for a duration of 1 month in August.
Among the discussions we had during the session, everybody felt the need to empower young people, since young people with knowledge and good character would be an asset in shaping the future generations.
Group presentation on next steps – below mentioned are some of the points noted during the session.
Political will to bring a positive change. Share findings with policy makers.
Put the government on task, ask the government authorities what they have been and are doing.
Lobby, advocate and engage young people.
Advocate for transparency – let the public know what is happening.
Need for parent awareness / effectiveness programmes.
Detoxing the drug users.
SOS made a presentation at the workshop “young people sharing experience – how we, youth perceive it” in this presentation SOS member put forward the importance of incorporating this issue in to the education system. How some of the adults make it a million rufiyaa business and attain a luxurious life, whilst the society grieves over the loss of its future in to drug addiction. The importance of preventive measures to counter balance the pressures young are facing. Secondary effects of drug use, such as Hepatitis C and HIV which is increasing amongst ID users. SOS member shared a story of a friend who is going through hardships of addiction.
Other NGO’s and government bodies were present at this meeting.