YHP PORTUGAL – Like Me
Greater Lisbon area.
Phase I 2012-15; Phase II 2017-2018
The local context
The economic crisis hit many families in Portugal with rising unemployment rates and increased poverty. Many vulnerable, disadvantaged young people aged 10 to 12 years experience behavioural problems, and low self-esteem, and limited access to healthcare.
Encourage young people to take control of their health and well-being, build self-reliance and self-respect and thereby avoid future risk behaviours.
Health and mental well-being of vulnerable pre-teens.
During Phase I we ran thematic workshops in informal settings, focusing on recreational, sports and self-expression activities. These were delivered by a multidisciplinary team, using a peer education methodology, with personalised and specialised support.
Research was conducted amongst 113 school children to assess their attitudes to mental health in order to prioritise their information needs and provide a baseline to evaluate programme outcomes.
Phase II builds on this work, strengthening links with the Portuguese national government’s Choices Programme, which aims to promote social inclusion for children and young people. Partnerships are being developed with neighbourhood and community associations, with recreational and sports associations, health centres and parish councils, and with local and national government bodies to provide physical spaces for workshops and activities and health information and education materials.
We are training 20 peer educators to plan, organise and drive NCD awareness sessions in their schools. The peer educators are also creating and maintaining Facebook pages on the issue of NCDs and young people.
We are also developing an app comprising four short films and a questionnaire to provide them a fun activity that also tests their knowledge.
A series of ‘Cine Forum’ soap-opera style productions were produced on key topics, each lasting 5 minutes and featuring characters aged 10-12.
All those who participated in the project from the beginning were invited to a holiday camp, with the aim of producing a ‘Manual of Good Practice’.
Young people representing YHP Portugal participated in meetings organised by UNICEF / NCD Child within the framework of the 69th UN General Assembly in New York.
‘My mother is unemployed and my father does odd jobs. I have four brothers. I used to bully other children at school – my sister told me to stop but I just carried on. YHP helped me to accept myself as I am, to have more self-confidence – and to stop bullying. Now when I see a friend doing something wrong with drugs or alcohol I know how to advise them, or how they can get help.
I want now to follow my dream and become a ballet dancer.’