Lions Quest "Skills for Adolescence" pilot programme proceeded with the implementation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro

26-27 May 2016, Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 30-31 May 2016, Podgorica, Montenegro: UNODC and the Lions Clubs International Foundation commenced in 2015 the Lions Quest "Skills for adolescence" pilot programme in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro reaching over 40 elementary schools in both countries.

The programme is directly working with 1,604 students of the age group of 10-14 by encouraging the social emotional learning to develop student capacities to address drug use protective factors more efficiently.

With the objective to review and discuss local pilot programme implementation modality together with  teachers who are directly working in elementary schools, the follow up sessions were jointly convened with the Ministries of Education in Podgorica and Skopje. Furthermore, the data analysis on substance use, current refusal skills, normative belief and perception of harm was showcased presenting the results of the performed (pre)testing with the groups of students involved in the programme.

The follow up sessions were acknowledged as highly beneficial for teachers and national counterparts as an opportunity to discuss the best practices and future steps in terms of programme sustainability. Next sessions with the group of educators are planned for the end of September where analysis of rigorous evaluation will be presented showing the effects of the implemented pilot.

Extending the outcomes of the follow up meetings discussion, additional national expert group meetings were organized in Skopje and Podgorica to further examine the value of the programme, its affinity, additional cultural adaptation of the material, training needs and allocation of resources for the prospective continuation of the programme.

The results of the national expert group meetings will support the conception of national presentations to be exhibited at the upcoming regional event on Lions Quest programme in October in Belgrade, Serbia. The regional event will gather experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to showcase the results achieved during the programme and to streamline the importance of adequate drug use prevention interventions and their effects.