To introduce and launch The Contract Concept
PRELIMINARY MANUAL TO THE CONTRACT CONCEPT
by Slim Lidén, Smart International
To introduce and launch The Contract Concept
Here, we take it from scratch. You´ll get tips for the very first steps from the time you’ve heard of the method until it is time to begin to gain approval for the idea among local stakeholders in the target area.
- You’ve heard about the method and become interested. It sounded so positive. To encourage the good/smart choices, to help kids say no, involving the parents, no pointers, to spread joy and laughter, to raise self-esteem – what a protective factor!
- Find out more from the undersigned Slim Lidén, founder and for 20 years the secretary-general of NGO SMART, or from somebody else, who has worked with the concept
- Request the English flyer by Slim from World Forum Against Drugs 2016 and check www.smartboken.webb-plats.se – use the installed Google Translate
- Hand-pick a few people whom you trust would be useful and dedicated for this
- Start thinking about the target school/schools (or small community) and the targeted age groups. This concept should normally start before the (vast majority of the) pupils have tried tobacco or alcohol.
- Request a survey from Slim about the kids self-reported substance experiences which you can use in the target schools before the pupils know anything about the coming intervention. This could be a baseline study which could be followed up a couple of years later – or in a school where they don´t use the Contract Concept. (You don´t have to do this, but it´s great if you have plans for new schools or communities.)
- Ask Slim/me for personal advice, answers to your questions – Don’t hesitate!
- Gain approval for the prevention intervention in the target community! Gather the hand-picked group and write down a list of people that you should involve or inform about the upcoming intervention. This is important for the sustainability of the work! If you miss someone or some category, they might become a problem later. You should contact everyone in the target community that works with youth; school administrations, teachers, school health etcetera, social workers, the police, local politicians, youth clubs, sports clubs… and parents’ committees. But not the pupils!
Issues to discuss and decide on
- What target area will you approach (one school, a few schools, a small community, a suburb or a sports club)?
- Maybe you want to save the world (me too), but do that long-term, please. The first year in your country/region/city or town, restrain and limit the target group to one, two or three schools. Or one sports club. See how it works, learn from your experiences, adapt to your circumstances. After that you can spread the concept to other schools, sports clubs etcetera.
- What ages or grades will you introduce the Concept to – the first year? (You can´t save them all! The older classes where many pupils have started smoking or drinking – it is not your job to save them. This is a long-term intervention! In a few years you will be able to reach the older pupils, like the 15-year olds, when they have enjoyed the membership and the benefits since they were younger. It´s really important that the first target schools in your country will be a success! Don´t go looking for problems…
- What shall be printed on the contracts? The key question is what the pupils must say no to. In Sweden we say, that tobacco (of all kinds, including shisha/waterpipes and e-cigarettes with or without nicotine) is compulsory in the contracts. This is because smoking is so stupid (half of the long-term smokers die from it) and it´s a gateway to alcoholism and narcotics. Alcohol should also be included, early drinking is disastrous! Then it´s up to you, if you should add something else, that you consider a problem. In my home town I added other drugs, stealing, bullying and vandalizing. Why not discuss this with staff and teachers in a local school? It´s up to you to adapt the method to your situation where you will work.
- It´s important to issue membership cards. The members will be very proud of them – especially if their photo is on them. This will be, kind of, their first ID-card. It should not be costly to laminate the cards with the photos inside. Find out where you can buy pre-cut small laminates (preferably in the credit card size) or larger sheets that you can cut yourselves. And a heating device suited for laminating. I can send you samples of laminates and examples of full membership cards from my smart club.
- When shall you introduce the concept to the pupils? Don´t do it too soon! The better preparations, the longer and better intervention! Sustainability. Talk to me about it!