FOTO ALUMNOS ALBALATThe competition is organized by the European Academy of Yuste Foundation and the Department of Social Affairs of the Town Council of Navalmoral de la Mata

The fourth-year pupils of Albalat Secondary School in Navalmoral de la Mata have reached the final of the 7th regional seminar on the prevention of drug abuse among Extremadura teenagers titled “Young people speak: from local to European strategy” held this morning at the House of Culture in Navalmoral de la Mata.

The semi-final in the province of Cáceres brought together the schools of Al-Qazeres in Cáceres and La Vera Alta in Villanueva de la Vera and the winning school. The jury, made up of the two delegates from the Foundation for Help Against Drug Addiction in the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz, Delicia Prieto and Mónica Millán, expressed their satisfaction with the projects by congratulating both the pupils and the tutors, educators and counsellors “because we know that you have actively participated in the preparation of the projects”. The jury highlighted the “fluid and dynamic” presentation and the incorporation of videos, surveys and testimonies of the Cáceres school. As for the Villanueva school, they stressed its “creative presentation” and its courage to address the “reduction of risk in consumption” as it is “dangerous to convey that there are people who want to consume thinking that they have it under control, but that is impossible”. Finally, they highlighted the Navalmoral school’s introduction into its work of videos and songs in keeping with the message they wanted to convey, as well as taking into account “gender equality and the introduction of English into the different sections”.

The final will be held in May between the Navalmoral school and the school which wins the semi-final in the province of Badajoz, to be held on Friday 11 March at the Alcazaba Cultural Centre in Mérida.

The competition consists of the presentation of a project prepared by the pupils of each school with the help of their teachers, addressing issues such as the risks of recreational drug use, the reasons for consumption, the impact on youth people, the consequences over time, European policies and prevention strategies at regional, national and European levels. Finally, the groups have to make proposals to prevent drug abuse among teenagers. The pupils’ presentations must be supported by a slide show, which can be linked to any kind of video, photos, music, recording or any type of artistic expression chosen by the group.

The competition, which has run for seven years without interruption, has achieved the participation of 42 schools in the region, directly involving more than 1,000 pupils and a further 1,500 indirectly.

It should be noted that several new features have been incorporated this year with respect to previous ones in order to give the project a more European dimension. It has thus enjoyed the collaboration of the European Commission, which has provided promotional material on European integration and the functioning of the institutions, distributed around the six selected schools, with the information being complemented by a videoconference between each school and the representative of the Foundation in Brussels and a talk on European prevention policies given by the delegates of the Foundation for Help Against Drug Addiction in Extremadura.

Contextualization

The Competition for Secondary Schools which forms part of the 7th Regional Program on the Prevention of Drug Abuse in the Leisure and Free Time of Extremadura Teenagers was launched in 2010 as an initiative of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation and the Department of Social Affairs of the Town Council of Navalmoral de la Mata in order to give the project a regional scope, although the Town Council had organized it at a local level since 2006.

This activity aims to promote intervention processes aimed at eradicating, increasing awareness of and preventing the causes of drug abuse. Furthermore, it seeks the involvement of young people by means of a participatory and direct dynamic, as the pupils themselves, together with their tutors, produce the work, thereby understanding the harmful effects of drug abuse.