Workshop to help facilitate ‘even more effective’ community drug intervention programmes

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Officials of the Urban Renewal Commission, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, and The Bahamas National Drug Council (BNDC), Ministry of Health, have teamed up to host a three-day workshop for Centre and Programme Managers and line staff of the ten Urban Renewal Centres in New Providence.

An expected end result of the Workshop will be the development of “even more effective” drug intervention programmes at the community level.

Conducted by Dr. Novia T. Carter-Lookie, Director of The Bahamas National Drug Council, the workshop opened Monday and will continue today Wednesday (May 8) and Monday (May 13) at the Community Affairs Division, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.

“It is critical for programmers to clearly understand the ‘Why?’ and ‘Why Here?’ when developing programmes,” Dr. Carter-Lookie said.

“A lot of times people establish programmes simply because the matter/issue is a ‘hot topic’ at the time, but when you look at the ‘Why?’ of a programme then you begin to understand the need for prevention.”

A noted child psychologist, Dr. Carter-Lookie told the workshop participants that maintaining good connections at the community level was critical, adding that she was “excited” about the collaboration as the team at Urban Renewal has the potential to “positively impact the country in so many ways.”

“I am excited about Urban Renewal because it is my belief that Urban Renewal has the potential to impact the country for one key reason – children now have somebody they can be connected to in their community. What that has allowed for is that children in communities where there are Urban Renewal Centres can walk into those Centres and get the kinds of assistance they need, whether it is for learning a new skill, after-school assistance, etcetera.”

Dr. Carter-Lookie also encouraged the Centre and Programme Managers to encourage and develop more Peer-led Programmes.

“Let the children in the communities you serve help to develop some of the programmes that they may want to see in their particular community,” Dr. Carter-Lookie said. “The reality is that kids really don’t want to listen to adults all of the time, but they will listen to a positive peer who is telling them this is the way to go.

“All over the world we are looking at developing programmes that are Peer-led. The positive peers don’t necessarily have to be the same age. They can be at the college or university level, they can be high school children, but what we want is for the children to be able to see that their peer was able to say no to sex; to say no to drugs; and that if they can do it, ‘I can do it also.’

“I just love the potential Urban Renewal has to not only bring the various communities throughout our country together, but to also foster the further growth and development of our country,” Dr. Carter-Lookie added.

Mr. Kellen Russell, Acting Director of the Urban Renewal Commission applauded the collaboration with The Bahamas National Drug Council, adding that the collaboration is part of the Commission’s thrust to improve the quality of service to the urban communities across The Bahamas.

“As persons who are always out in the field; as persons who are on the frontlines of our communities, it is important for us to be able to participate in these opportunities – the end result of which is better service to our clients, our communities and our country,” Mr. Russell added.

This article was written by Matt Maura – Bahamas Information Services.