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Responsible drinking programmes
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• “Talk about alcohol”
• “Runājot par alkoholu”
COUNTRY Latvia
TIMING 2013 > Ongoing
THEME
Underage drinking

CONTRIBUTOR

  • Pernod Ricard
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PARTNER(S)

  • Go Beyond
  • Latvian Medical association (Pēteris Apinis)
  • Latvian Parents Movement (Latvijas Vecāku kustība)
  • Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD)
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OBJECTIVE

  • To encourage young people to think for themselves and to take an active position on various issues relating to alcohol.
  • To reduce the number of young alcohol consumers, to promote abstinence as a valid option and to motivate responsible drinking.
  • To equip parents with information on the usage of alcohol by teenages.
  • To explain legal restrictions.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE INITIATIVE

  • Based on the Swedish "Prata om Alcohol" project and supported by dedicated website, the programme was launched in September 2013. It is tailored to Latvian circumstances and law and consists of a series of lessons in 4 levels for teachers to use with students aged 13-17 in lower and secondary schools. A pilot of school alcohol policy was carried out in October, 2013. Participants of youth development program Go Beyond with the representatives of Latvian Parents’ Movement researched the needs of the Jaunpiebalga secondary school (a rural school with ~400 pupils). The main conclusion with regards to material usability in Latvia was that Latvian educational environment was not ready for the Swedish approach and so the primarily focus is work with teachers and parents separately.
  • 2 different training seminars were designed with the support of the National Centre of Education in order to help teachers to understand the material and how to use it in the classroom. A 4 hour seminar “Classroom methods of alcohol prevention” and a 12 hour seminar “Classroom methods of alcohol prevention and basics of school alcohol policy”. The 12 hour seminar qualifies as a professional development programme and accounts for 18 out of 36 points each teacher has to collect every 3 years in order to maintain their teaching qualification.
  • Lessons are broken down into a teacher section, student section and exercise section. They can be used in their entirety or tailored from select parts and can be incorporated into a variety of subjects.
  • The in-class exercises are geared towards the needs of young people based on their backgrounds and experiences and are designed to empower the student to deal with social expectations and peer pressure. Active student involement and informal discussions are promoted. 
  • Material for parents was updated in 2014. Psychiatrists, doctors and coaches were involved in the development of the material. It primarily consists of how to set an example, how to talk to children of different age groups and factual information on alcohol and its effects.
  • In early 2014 two competitions for students took place: 1) essay competition for 6th to 12th graders on “Youth and Addictions” in cooperation with a national news portal (www.diena.lv; 2) “Don't Drink and Drive” video competition for 10th to 12th graders with the Road Traffic Safety Directorate.
  • In September 2014 competition for teachers was run. Teachers were encouraged to submit lesson plans that offer alternative ways to talk with students about addictions as well as topics such as peer pressure. The best lesson plans won cash prizes. 
  • In October 2014 a competition for students to create work on "Alcohol, celebration, community, and I" was launched. The best entries were published on Delfi.lv and Calis.lv.
  • From the start of the 2015 - 2016 school year seminars in the Russian language were introduced in 2 biggest cities (Riga and Daugavpils).
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IMPACT

  • During the 2015 – 2016 school year 20 seminars were organised in the 6 biggest cities around the country reaching 472 teachers. Additionally 6 seminars were organised in Riga reaching 108 teachers. The Russian language seminars reached 93 teachers.
  • The October 2014 student competition: received 109 creative works, including 16 poems, two plays and one diary. Winning entries can be on the delfi.lv website.
  • The April 2014 student competitions: 84 essays were submitted for the competitions and the top 5 essays were shared 641 times. 139 participants took part in teams in the video competition. 42 videos were submitted. The top 6 videos received 1,178 “likes” on social media. The final event was covered by media (news portals and youth TV) and the winners’ video was altered with professional help and became the main video for the campaign against drinking and driving.
  • In 2013, 13 teacher ambassador trainings were conducted. Each teacher then organised seminar for 25 other teachers across the country. In total 325 teachers were reached. The special training of additional 100 teachers in Riga was also conducted. 
  • The website received 1,200 unique views in 2013.
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EVALUATION

  • In January 2015 a 3 year evaluation of the program started. It will be a longitudinal study of the impact the program has on 7th to 9th graders, following the same classes of 3,000 pupils in 50 schools (25 intervention and 25 control).
  • An on-line survey reaching in 50 schools (1,200 pupils) is also being carried out.
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