This is the eighth edition of the Let it hAPYN newsletter

So long...we are happy we Let it hAPYN! 

The three-years long project Let it hAPYN finally came to an end. With this project we directly reached over a thousand active youth workers, leaders and young people, while indirectly the outreach was even bigger with figures passing six digits. The project and with it the entire Alcohol Policy Youth Network became a relying source for youth organizations and organizations for young people for information on the prevention and harm-reduction programmes in Europe and the first stop for well-reputed public health partners that would like to run projects with the meaningful inclusion of young people.

During this project, the membership of the APYN grew by more than three times and it is now joining 36 organizations from 24 European countries, including four pan-European networks that together reach over a million students and young people world-wide.

The potential of the project results is very big as there is no similar representative youth-engaging mechanism on public health in Europe to date.

After the Bled Youth Paper on Alcohol that defined the main actors in the youth sector in Europe, we managed to reach a whole new level with the Bursa Youth Paper on Alcohol that identifed the roles of youth actors in the future alcohol policy in Europe. We are very happy that with the support of the European Commission, the Slovenian Health Ministry, the Turkish Regulatory Office for Alcohol and Tobacco and the Slovenian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, we were able to reach both young people in the European Union and outside, making the European Union actions on Alcohol and Young People even more visible to the public. 

Thank you all for making this project such a success! :)
In the next paragraphs we are going to shortly present some of the last activities we carried out in this extraordinary project. Moreover, at the bottom you are able to find our three publications that can be freely downloaded and reproduced. Please quote the authors and the Let it hAPYN project if citations or other materials from these publications are used in other publications or online texts.

Stakeholders meeting in Warsaw, Poland

One of the last activities in the Let it hAPYN project were stakeholders meetings and one of them happened on 22nd of June 2016 in Warsaw, Poland.

It was a meeting between the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Department, which was also hosting the event, State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems (PARPA), Alcohol Policy Youth Network and some other organizations and institutions.

The discussion was running around the current situation about alcohol consumption among young people in Poland (the topic was presented by IOGT Poland), how to involve young people in Poland in alcohol prevention and how to assure better cooperation and communication between stakeholders who work on different fields of alcohol .

The conclusions were that Poland sadly has a big problem with alcohol consumption, especially among young people, but all organizations involved in this meeting agreed that they should find new ways on how to apply common initiatives and try to improve the situation. They also discussed the possibility of IOGT Poland joining APYN during the next General Assembly and get connected with the growing European movement on alcohol prevention.

Final Let it hAPYN Conference in Bled, Slovenia
APYN with Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy (STAP) and Eurocare organized the third European Alcohol Policy Youth Conference (EAPYC) in Bled, Slovenia between 12th and 16th of May 2016. 

EAPYC was a youth-led conference that brought together around 80 people around Europe, some of them already familiar with alcohol-related topics, some beginners in the field but all eager to work in areas of alcohol policy, youth research and in developing evidence-based projects on alcohol prevention and harm reduction. The main goals were focused on raising interest among young people and youth organizations about the prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm and the alcohol policy; empowering participants with the necessary skills and capacities in order to effectively work in the field of alcohol; empowering the participants with the necessary tools to engage in advocacy for more comprehensive alcohol policies at the regional, national and international level; providing the necessary tools and training for participants to be able to conduct projects to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm on young people; and giving participants the opportunity to exchange their expertise and good practices with their peers.

A combination of lectures, workshops and non-formal activities was a perfect format for the conference. Participants had the opportunity to listen to Dag Rekve from WHO, Vesna Kerstin Petrič from Ministry of Health of Slovenia, Jan Peloza from APYN, Jon Foster from Institute of Alcohol Studies, Peter Rice from Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), Mariann Skar from Eurocare and Wim van Dalen from Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy (STAP), while experienced APYN trainers took care of the workshops on alcohol policy and advocacy, youth research in alcohol field and evidence-based projects both for beginners and intermediates.

The conference was a great opportunity for participants to exchange knowledge, good practices, and ideas and maybe even to establish new partnerships.

Stakeholders' meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania
This was the first official meeting with the new Minister of Health, Juras Požela, concerning alcohol prevention in Lithuania. The President of Lithuanian National Youth Council, Mantas Zakarka led the meeting and started with the presentation of the resolution of Alcohol Prevention Policy in Lithuania, which was initiated by Lithuanian Medical Students’ Association (LiMSA) and adopted in April of this year by the Council.

Main points of the resolution (total ban of alcohol advertising, limiting accessibility of alcohol by limiting purchase hours and selling points to specialized stores only, increasing the price) were presented and shortly discussed mainly focusing on possible actions of the Ministry in the next few months. The Minister was sceptical about adopting proposed policies in the current Parliament.

Moreover, youth leaders who attended this meeting were given a chance to provide their comments and suggestions to the plan of reducing alcohol consumption prepared and adopted by the Ministry of Health. The plan involves 5 more Ministries and consists of more than 50 actions. Yet, youth representatives were not satisfied with the plan because of its inconsistency, lack of cost-effective policies, too much focus on education and research that might not be worth the investment. Despite the comments, the Minister did not make any concrete promises and turned away from a chance to lead evidence-based alcohol policies in Lithuania.
Boost my project idea: Mystery shopping in Malta
As part of Let it hAPYN, six national trainings for research on law enforcement have been carried out, as well as researches in those countries.

One of the researches (mystery shopping) happened in one of the islands of Malta named Gozo and was carried out by the Gozo Youth Council in November 2015.

The research was meant to prove how common or uncommon alcohol consumption is by underage young people, how easy or not easy it is to acquire such drinks from supermarkets or grocery store.
The leader of the group was taking part in several trainings within the APYN framework related to the research, so she was able to conduct the mystery shopping by herself but of course with constant support from her mentor.

The research was then conducted in the main supermarkets and spread out in various villages. In line with the mystery shopping, a survey was also conducted, asking teenagers related questions and comments connected to the subject.

Sadly minors were able to buy alcohol in all the stores that were visited. The results of both mystery shopping and questionnaire complemented each other and showed that Gozo really has a lot of space to work on this issue by putting to the limelight how many students drink freely and how easy it is to get access to alcohol, no matter if you are of legal age or not.
Boost my project idea: Mystery shopping in Romania
Similar research and training to Maltese project was also done in Romania by the Associatia DEIS. The aim was to carry out mystery shopping that would show the availability of alcohol in the supermarkets to underage people.

Training in which 11 young people participated took place in November 2015. Main topics were alcohol prevention and alcohol policy as well as detailed discussion on how to do mystery shopping, based on the handbook produced by the Let it hAPYN project. The research plan was made by the organisation with the help of APYN mentors, and the mystery shopping itself was then carried out by young people who attended the training.

Youngsters went around in pairs and altogether they visited 19 stores. Alcohol was obtained in all 19 stores, which means that the law was not obeyed in 100%. Both organisers and participants were very surprised by the findings and by the fact that the shopkeepers did not have any issue with selling alcohol to minors. A press release was issued to the local media.
Click on the tiles below to download the three publications of the Let it hAPYN project
Copyright © 2016 Alcohol Policy Youth Network, All rights reserved.
This newsletter was possible due to the European Commission Funding under the Health 2.0 Programme

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