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ECOWAS and UNODC build capacity of CSOs on Drug prevention and Care

Group photograph of participants

Abuja, 8th February 2018 . In line with its Drug Action Plan (2016-2020), the ECOWAS Commission has commenced a three-day capacity building workshop beginning from 7th of February 2018, in Abuja Nigeria.

The workshop which is being convened in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will build the capacity of Civil Society Organizations(CSOs) from Member States and Mauritania in order to enable them identify and disseminate best practices and policies for preventing substance abuse particularly among the youth.

Speaking during the opening session of the workshop, ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow, represented by Mr. Daniel Amankwaah stated that illicit drugs impacts severely on health, development, peace, security and indeed every aspect of life.

He noted that the menace posed by illicit drugs cannot be controlled successfully without enlisting the support of the private sector and CSOs’.

‘It is our hope that not only would this workshop build the capacity of CSOs for substance use prevention, but also serve to organize ourselves into a sustainable network that can be engaged for coordinated activities aimed at reducing the incidences of substance abuse and related issues in West Africa’, he said.

The UNODC programme coordinator, Mr. Chiekh Toure in his remark, reiterated the importance of the training noting, that while these organizations have shown commitment towards tackling drug related problems, it has been observed that most of them lack the necessary skills and knowledge to develop and carry out effective evidence-based prevention interventions.

r_l Mrs Stefania Marrone, Head of Section in Delegation Operations 4- Regional Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, Daniel Akwasi Amankwaah

Also speaking, the representative of the E.U head of delegation to ECOWAS, Mrs.Stefania Marrone noted that, prevention of substance use is more than just increasing awareness.

‘It also involves the application of best practices to address the prevention needs of the respective communities and countries’, she added.

The CSOs will share their experiences and highlight their efforts in addressing substance use and behavioral health problems in their countries during the training. They will also be familiarized on regional drug policies, best practices and prevention initiatives.

It may be recalled that in 2016, under the EU support to the ECOWAS Drug Action Plan, the UNODC launched a call for proposals in order to support innovative and pilot prevention initiatives promoted by West African CSOs in six countries namely, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Cross section of participants

The initiative aims at providing financial resources for the sub region’s CSOs to undertake innovative drug prevention activities among the youth using an approach that is consistent with international protocols and standards on drug prevention and care.

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