The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), hosted a Strong Families Training of Trainers for the local government units (LGUs) of Makati, Marikina, Caloocan, and Quezon City from September 14 to 16 in Baguio City.
The training, which included a foundational plenary session and dynamic workshops, sought to empower LGU facilitators to carry out the Strong Families Program, a component of INL’s “Mitigating the Negative Impact of COVID-19 on At-Risk Communities in the Philippines” project. Strong Families is a family skills training program for caregivers and children, designed to improve child mental health, parenting practices, and family adjustment skills to cope with challenging situations, including COVID-19 while fostering resiliency against the influence of illegal drugs.
During her remarks, INL Director Kelia Cummins emphasized U.S. support for programs that empower communities and families to create effective support systems.
“This two-year project aims to mitigate the pandemic’s impact by augmenting providers’ skills to better serve people affected by drug use and dependence. What is unique and exciting about this program is that it focuses on building family skills, across age groups, gender, and family roles: children, parents, and caregivers, can participate and benefit,” she said.
The program also featured an overview of the UN General Assembly Special Session Operational Recommendations, delivered by UNODC Senior National Programme Officer Jo-Ann De Belen, and a presentation on Prevention as a Science by UNODC Health & Drugs National Programme Officer Shella Ruiz-Marquez.
Facilitators Teri Acda of Palawan’s Community Enhancement & Livelihood Program, Ruby Rose Abuan, and Mary Ann Ruiz, teachers from the Department of Education in Quezon City, and Jigette Cyril Zalun of the Caloocan Anti Drug Abuse Council, gave participants an in-depth look at the history of the Strong Families Program and anecdotes from previous implementations in the Philippine setting.