SSDP African Orientation Training: Session Results and Feedback

In early December, the brand new SSDP Africa Orientation Training was launched, with the 5 well-prepared, eager, and motivated facilitators ready to train the first batch of participants and begin the task of certifying our members. Read about who they are and the creation of this training here. The first round of this training saw 12 participants in attendance of the 3 Sessions, the first session being on the topic of ‘SSDP Basics’, the second being ‘Giving Context: Sustainable Development Goal’s and the War on Drugs’ and the third being ‘Advocacy and Outreach’. The participants then had a week to submit their completed Workbooks that accompanied this training, allowing for reflection back on what was learned during the Sessions, critical thinking about their own countries’ drug policies and harm reduction services, and a chance to jot down ideas of who they can reach out to, what campaigns they wish to run, and how they plan on using what was learned in the training. Sign up to attend this training and become a SSDP Africa certified member here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf-pAWh_xqbReGMlIW_sQ48f2B8bZkaY9xJcEI_3uGUbOsghw/viewform 

The first Session began with an opening video to mark the launch of this training, with the video ending in the cutting of a ribbon. The Session was then facilitated by Julius Droma Nyanda ‘19, and Isaac Ogunkola Olushola ‘19 where they made the participants feel welcome and comfortable and prepared for the week of this training. This Session consisted of an explanation of what we mean by ‘sensible’ drug policies and key terms from our Mission and Vision statements. Harm reduction was also explained through examples relevant to our African members, and the session ended with the history of SSDP, it’s structure, and the kind of activities the SSDP Africa chapters usually conduct. 

The second Session was facilitated by Precious Chinenye Muogbo ‘19, and would have also been facilitated by Maimuna Suleiman Muhammad ‘19 if she were not un-expectantly out of network reach that evening. Precious gave incredible descriptions of counterproductive drug policies, giving context through examples that she’s experienced with her peers, contextualised explanations of how the work of SSDP is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and played a video about the history of the War on Drugs. Precious ensured the audience were engaged and understanding the content by requesting input to the messaging application on Zoom throughout the Session. 

The third and final Session was facilitated by Evelyn Aba Eduful ‘17 and Isaac Ogunkola Olushola ‘19, in which the participants were trained in Advocacy and Outreach, giving examples of events chapters in Africa have run before and successes of chapters worldwide to inspire them. They also clearly explained how to measure successful advocacy/campaign/events, important Global days of action, and gave examples of outreach and who to work with in their universities, communities and countries. This session gave them a base understanding about outreach and advocacy, better informed their work in their chapters and our collective fight to end the War on Drugs and stop all its harms.

Some of our members that participated in the first round of this Training have given feedback on what the training meant to them and how it has benefited them. 

 

Aborode Abdullahi Tunde ‘19 said; “My experience during and after the training was awesome as I gained more clarity about the War on Drugs, drug policy reform, drug policies, how to reach out to drug users, and how to express to people to say KNOW to drugs and not NO. My favourite part was learning about drug policy reform and changing policies.”

Egide Nduwayo ‘19 said “I learned how to mobilize people about drugs, and the part that benefitted me most was learning about SSDP and the SDG’s.”

Ikrama Aliyu said; “I am glad I took this training, as it really added value to my work with SSDP and in my activism. It has benefited me in many ways, to outline a few: I gained more knowledge about people who use drugs and why they do, I learned a simple approach to talk to people who use drugs and strategies to convene a meeting/discussion with several stakeholders of my community. I learned the importance of individuals making decisions in their lives and providing information for informed decisions, and many more lessons. The section about the relationship between SDGs and drug policy reform was my favourite part of the training. I learned that these goals may not be achieved without proper drug policy reform.”

Maimuna Gambo ‘19 said; “I would like to appreciate SSDP for giving me the opportunity to be part of the training, which has made me understand different things about drug policies. Also I now have courage to engage with different people who use drugs.  The SDG’s section was another part that I liked and learned alot from.” 

Imo Uchenna ‘19 said; “The 3 Sessions spread throughout the week were amazing. I always looked forward to the next sesion, and this is because I got to understand in a broader spectrum the good works and operation of SSDP. Initially I had struggled to understand SSDPs scope of operations on drug issues. I loved it when the goals, missions and targets of SSDP were linked and aligned with the SDG’s. Getting to understand how the various parts supported each of the goals made me glad, and I was happy that I am a member of SSDP. I have been able to meet people from outside my country who share the same thoughts as mine towards drug issues. I look forward to building capacity as I join to impact my society positively.” 

Finally, Marveline Atiene’s feedback from the training was; “The SSDP Africa Orientation Training was really enlightening. I had an awesome experience and I was educated and got more information about the War on Drugs that most countries are facing. I gained more knowledge on drug policies and the right ways they should be implemented and written knowing that the War on Drugs is a war on us. The part that I liked the most was the SDG’s and the War on Drugs, and learning about the counterproductive policies that are adopted by most countries that dehumanize and suppress the rights of people who use drugs.”

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The second round of this training ran mid-January, with even more participants, more engagement, and more excitement created amongst members to take what was learned in the training and apply it to their work in SSDP.