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Encouraging Involvement of Young People in Community Development and Entrepreneurship-

Encouraging Involvement of Young People in Community Development and Entrepreneurship-To counter the abuse of Narcotic Drugs and other Criminal Activities

CND66-Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Side Event (hybrid)

Friday, March 17th, 2023, UN Vienna

Dr. Maria RIEHL, WFWP-UN-Vienna-Office-Director warmly welcomed both the panellists and audience who participated in person and on zoom. She thanked them for their readiness to attend at such an early hour.

Focusing on the role of the family as the cradle of every human being and society, she explained its importance for instilling basic values, good behaviour, and good character development.

Dr. Riehl proceeded to introduce Her Excellency. Ms. Mary Wangui MUGWANJA, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of the

Republic of Kenya to Austria and the UN. H.E. outlined the situation of young people in Africa, where in Kenya, for example, over 80 % of the population are 35 and younger. Since youth are the future, she stressed our responsibility to guide and mentor them properly. She then presented an overview of the extensive programmes in Kenya to support the youth and provide opportunities for a hopeful future. Following are some examples: Funds are available to support entrepreneurship of youth, women, and disabled persons (30% of funds are assigned to those with special needs); a Kenyan youth employment enterprise has been established. Youth are involved in decision making; recently several high-ranking positions have been filled by younger people in order to offer them decision-making roles in their country.

Mr. BATWARE, Programme Officer, UNODC Civil Society Unit mentioned numerous programmes undertaken by UNODC to strengthen the resilience of the youth to counter drugs and crime. He emphasised the value of peers, and the potential of those who have recovered from addiction. Rehabilitated addicts can talk to and mentor those who are at risk. In conclusion, he quoted Kofi Anan (Former SG UN): “Young people should be at the forefront of innovation; empowered, they can be key-agents for development and peace”

Dr. Susan KONE, President-WFWP-Kenya, spoke about Youth Empowerment for Peace and Prosperity.

Dr. Kone highlighted the importance of education, in particular ‘character education’. A positive impact has been observed in schools where ‘Character Education Programs’ are conducted regularly. Students’ grades improve as does general behaviour. WFWP members visit schools in different villages at least once a term.

Referring to the impact of sports and martial-arts clubs developing in the villages, she said these clubs not only train in physical fitness, but also provide mental training, which in turn shape the character. Such activities protect the youth from unhealthy lifestyles. Moreover, several graduates from these programmes have experienced quicker access to employment, particularly with the police force or security services.

Flevian MACHOKA, Action Youth Development -Uganda (AOYDE)spoke about “Countering the Abuse of Narcotic Drugs and Criminal Activities”. She briefly outlined the situation of Ugandan youth: due to lack of opportunities, the youth are more vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, this is often portrayed as harmless and ‘cool’. AOYDE members, who work on a voluntary basis, often using their own resources, encourage young people to reshape and redirect their lives, make healthy decisions, and remain in or return to education. The professional skills training courses open doors, which enable them to earn a living. The group upholds values of social transformative leadership through advocacy, training, capacity-building, networking, and research by working with citizens of influence and community-based organizations.

Peter DEININGER is IAYSP- ‘Peace-Designer Coordinator’. Mr. Deininger spoke enthusiastically about this program, which encourages the youth to become actively involved in meaningful projects shaping their community, and to become agents of change rather than passive partakers of society. The training is not limited to activities; it also trains participants to become a person of integrity with a strong sense of responsibility, empathy, and service to others.

International Association of youth and Students for Peace,

Dr. Wolfgang BEIGLBÖCK, ‘Treatment and Rehabilitation for Young Persons Who Use Drugs in Austria’, IAAP.

Dr. Beiglböck described the activities of the ‘ANTON PROKSCH INSTITUTE’, situated on the outskirts of Vienna. This institution is a place for treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts and other kinds of addicts. Starting with detoxication, it moves on to short- and long-term treatment; it helps with ‘assisted housing’ and, if needed, it provides aftercare for months and years. The A.P.I. offers comprehensive treatment, adapted to the specific needs of the individual client.

The session was led in a professional manner by our colleague, Mrs. Kyung In van de Ven Oliveira.

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