Parental meetings: Small talks on big themes
To address underage drinking by targeting parents and teachers of 10–11-year-old pupils.
To continue raising knowledge and awareness of the risks related to underage alcohol consumption and in turn to delay the age of onset.
To include institutions, media and schools in dialogue and prevention activities.
The programme was designed to prevent underage drinking through discussing the topic in an informal environment attended by psychologists, parents and teachers of children (9-12 years old). The programme followed Bulgarian school year from September to May each calendar year.
Meetings were kept informal, so the atmosphere was conducive for the full participation of parents. Meetings were designed to answer questions like “how and when to talk about alcohol?”and “how to start talking about responsible consumption, without falling into extremes or negation?” They were mediated by the programme “angels”: Yana Alexieva (psychologist), Emil Jassim (teacher), Dragomir Simeonov (journalist), regional collaborators who were added to the team in 2017. Training seminars were provided for teachers which were preceded by regional media interviews.
- 2019/2020: The initiative was put on hold in favour of “Let’s talk about Alcohol”. It will be added to a new social programme platform, developed by Bulgarian Ministry of Education, when the platform becomes available.
- 2018/2019: An advertising /direct marketing link was established with https://www.shkolo.bg (app https://app.shkolo.bg/) the national electronic school diary, circulated nationally to parents of 1st to 7th grade pupils instead of paper books to promote programme message. It was also be promoted on http://predi18.org/ and http://konsumirai-otgovorno.bg/ . The programme was also extended to new locations like Pazardjik, Gorna Oryahovitsa and Karnobat. A public parental meeting was held mid-February 2019 with famous actors and sportsmen who talked about their first experience of alcohol to gather public and media attention. No activities took place on the Facebook page in 2018-2019.
- 2017/2018: LIDL joined the initiative by providing children’s nutritional advice, and the topic for healthy food and beverages was added to the programme.
- 2016-2017: The programme expanded both vertically (new fourth grades in current school-partners) and horizontally (new schools, new cities). The campaign was opened by a media event (October 4, 2016) in Sofia, dedicated to both Parental Meetings: SMALL TALKS ON BIG THEMES and WE DO NOT SELL ALCOHOL TO MINORS.
- An internet platform was launched in 2014 (predi18.org which contains useful information for parents and teachers who wish to carry out their own meeting. A Facebook pagewas launched in September 2016, to continue the dialogue with parents after the meetings. It hosts information and galleries from parental meetings; publications about the programme; presents the new “angels” of the programme and interesting facts and quotes.
Parents' Association (2016/2019)
Bulgarian Ministry of Education (2014/2019)
Regional Education Inspectorates (2014/2019)
State Agency for Child Protection (2014/2019)
National Children Network (2014/2019)
2015/2019 (October to May):
- A total of 725 primary teachers and 89 psychologists were involved.
- A total of 2,650 parents of 10–11-year-old pupils were reached (including those studying via the internet).
- 5 introduction seminars for teachers were held to open each school year cycle.
- 25-30 meetings were held per year in 125 schools in 5 regions of Bulgaria.
- 115+ performances in class of an adapted video about the harms of underage drinking (courtesy of Drinkaware).
- 225+ media interviews/publications/videos:
- 3 Media conferences for opening of school year cycle by 2018
- 1 public parental meeting opened for media was held on in 2019
2018/2019 (October to May): More meetings were held than initially planned. 16 meetings were held in Sofia, Plovdiv, Bourgas, V. Tarnovo and St. Zagora. Direct reach of new 16 schools, 152 parents, 40 teachers and 7 psychologists. Indirect reach (through SHKOLO.BG) was about +150,000 people. The public parental meeting reached cumulatively 950,738 people.
2017/2018 (October to May): 25 meetings were held in Sofia, Plovdiv, Bourgas, V. Tarnovo and St. Zagora. 5 teacher’s seminars took place. 5 regional media events were planned but media coverage of the Sofia event only (October 3, 2017) took place. The Facebook page gained 500 more “likes” by May 2018 (1,425 "likes by June 2018). predi18.org had 29,310 unique visitors (October 2017 to June 2018). 800 new booklets, 500 invitations and 100 posters were printed to support the campaign.
2016/2017 (October to May): 25 meetings took place in 6 cities (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Vratza and V. Tarnovo). The average number of attendees was between 15 and 18 per meeting reaching more than 400 direct contacts. The total reach of the target audience was for 800-1,000 people. 5 training sessions for teachers (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, and V. Tarnovo) took place with an average of 25 attendees per session. 1 training seminar for psychologists (14 people present) took place. Media coverage was similar to 2015/2016. 800 new handbooks, 300 certificates, 100 posters, 800 invitations and 1,000 stickers, 500 brochures for parents, 300 brochures for teachers/psychologists and 100 posters supported the campaign.
2015/2016 (September to May): 25 parental meetings took place in 5 cities (Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas and Vratsa), reaching a total of 358 parents. Since information is shared with family/friends the number of parents who were informed about the meeting/its topics could be 800-900 people. 5 training seminars were attended by 172 teachers in total. Since each school has about 12 to 16 primary teachers, the information was circulated to 300 to 400 of them. 500 new handbooks for parents and teachers as well as 300 certificates and 1,000 stickers were distributed to the target group. http://predi18.org had 6,006 unique visits from Sept 2015 - May 2016. 102 publications in national and local media (covering the press-releases submission and media interviews before each training seminar).
2014/2015 (from September to May): 8 meetings with 8 different schools in Sofia. 13 classes (3rd and 4th grade) participated and over 200 parents, 22 teachers and 4 psychologists took part. 500 handbooks for teachers and parents were distributed. The predi18.org website had over 1,000 unique views. Over 22 publications/interviews in print and online media, radio and television.
2013/2014: 3 workshops in Sofia with 30 parents.
2012/2013: 4 workshops in Sofia with teachers. 1 press conference to launch the programme, attended by celebrities.
Measurement & evaluation
2018-2019: Achievements were evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively. Results show that the maximum rate of quantitative expectations were reached (for a 3rd year), therefore there is no urgent need of doing it in the future:
- 98% consider the topic important for themselves and their families.
- 94% rate the parental meetings as very helpful.
- 83% will talk about alcohol consumption with their children after the meeting.
- 80% will share the programme ideas and message with other parents.
- 49% discussed the topic with their children prior to the meeting.
- 98% shared programme information with their colleagues.
- 97% are very satisfied with the programme, topic, mediators, and the meeting.
- 96% consider the model discussion as appropriate for other teenage issues.
2017-2018: Achievements were evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively. Results show that:
- Parents: 98% consider the topic important for themselves and their families; 96% rate the meetings as very helpful; 88% will talk about alcohol consumption with their children after the meeting; 79% will share the programme ideas and message with other parents and 42% had discussed the topic with their children prior to the meeting.
- Teachers: 100% shared programme information with their colleagues; 98% are very satisfied with the programme, topic, mediators and the meeting; 96% consider the model discussion as appropriate for other teenage issues.
2016-2017: Evaluated through quantitative analysis. Results show that:
- 21% more parents attended a meeting but 35% less teachers attended a seminar.
- 85% of parents said they would talk with their children about prevention and 90% said that they would share the programme’s message with other parents.
- 92% of attendees liked the format and speakers, 95% considered the topic was important for children’s lifestyle and 78% felt the need to talk about other hot topics in a similar way.
2015/2016: Evaluated by an independent evaluator. Results show that:
- 98% of parents liked and approved of the format and content; 74% of parents had a conversation about alcohol after the meeting, while 24% had already had one before the meeting; 45% of parents looked for more information on the meeting topic.
- 33% of teachers attended because of the teacher’s invitation; 93% of teachers evaluated the programme and its spokespersons positively.
- 50% of participants said they would hold their own meeting (even in 2-3 years) and 29% of participants would deliver the message in the same way.
2014/2015: Evaluated by an external independent evaluator. Results show that: 100% confirmed that they would hold this type of meeting with the help of the school psychologist and without the involvement of external experts. Also, teachers were willing to share their experiences with other colleagues from the same or other schools. 90% of parents who took part had a conversation with their childr(en) about alcohol following the meeting.