Life skills matter – fighting alcohol misuse in Kenya

In 2018, Child to Child has been commissioned by Blue Cross Norway to support a life skills education programme in Kisumu, Kenya, to minimise the harms associated with alcohol misuse. The International Federation of the Blue Cross is a global network of about 40 organisations engaged in the prevention, treatment and after-care of problems related to alcohol and drugs. In this project, we will be building the capacity of Blue Cross Kisumu (BCK) staff to conduct life skills education activities with children to minimise the harms of alcohol and substance misuse in the community.


Alcohol consumption in sub-Saharan Africa is on the rise, as manufacturers see a promising new market with a young population, financial growth and poor alcohol regulations. Over the last 10 years, Kisumu has seen a rise in incidents related to alcohol misuse, such as domestic violence, road accidents, and increasing economic unproductivity. Children are increasingly exposed to the effects of alcohol consumption at home and in the community. They are also aware of the increasing availability of options; there are liquor advertisements on the way to and from schools, and there are even reports of schools sharing a building with breweries. According to a Blue Cross report, more and more children are reporting being assaulted and harassed by people under the influence of alcohol. Despite laws to present underage drinking, alcohol use among youth under 24 is increasing.

Life skills programme

Child to Child will work with BCK staff to build their capacity to work with and engage young people in the community. In particular, we will introduce child-friendly participatory methods to ensure that:

  • Young people are equipped with the knowledge, self-esteem and life skills required to make positive and healthy choices in relation to their lives, and specifically in relation to their consumption of alcohol and other substances. These life skills will include: critical thinking, risk assessment, problem solving, making choices, and communication with peers and parents.
  • Young people, parents and teachers are given the skills they need to influence their community to adopt measures to prevent and address substance misuse.

With input from BCK staff, we will develop a manual which will include a set of activities that BCK will conduct with children to make them able to make healthier choices and influence others to do so as well. The activities will incorporate our award-winning Step Approach  to enable children to identify and address challenges in the community. The project will be community-based, ensuring sustainability of the programme.

The programme will focus on Kisumu, Kenya in the first instance, with a view to subsequently expand the programme to other African countries.