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

The European Alcohol Policy Youth Conference was a youth-led and youth-developed 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 about prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm and alcohol policy and also to empower them with necessary knowledge and tools to work on these areas.

The conference was also one of the last events of a three-years-long European Commission funded project called Let it hAPYN!, so the outcomes of the project were presented during the event.

A combination of lectures, workshops and non-formal activities was a perfect format for the conference. We had the opportunity to listen to Dag Rekve from the World Health Organization, 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 the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy (STAP), while our experienced APYN trainers took care of the workshops.

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

The project was supported by the Health Programme of the European Union, Slovenia’s Development Cooperation, South-Eastern Europe Health Network and by Slovenian Ministry of Health.
Brief reports on other Let it hAPYN activities
The project is now in its concluding phase, with many of the "Boost my project initiatives", National Consultations and Stakeholders' Meetings well under way.

Things that were carried out include:
  • Mystery shopping in Romania and Malta
  • Advertising monitoring in Lithuania and Slovenia
  • Improving internal alcohol policies in youth centres in Slovenia
  • Adapting new school based interventions and Media Advocacy with Italy and
  • Peer developed interventions in Lithuania
We are also finishing with organising National Consultations, where young people are able to discuss their views on alcohol policy in their country and find ways to improve it. Stay tuned for more information on National Consultation in your country!

The concluding phase of the project will also mean we will finalize our toolkits (see the draft publications online) – on creating evidence based projects and on carrying out research, as well as well as Manual on best practices with showcased examples of the initiatives.
The last three Stakeholders' meetings happened in Bulgaria, Poland and Slovenia. 

See below two examples of good practice of youth participation in two involved countries :)
LiMSA, Lithuania: Report on project
Sober because I'm wise, wise because I'm sober

This year, Lithuanian Medical Students’ Association (LiMSA) started a project called Sober because I’m wise, wise because I’m sober, which took place at four schools in two different cities. Members of the organization visited seventh grade students and engaged them into different activities ranging from alcohol advertisement analysis to dancing lessons and flash mobs. The main aim of it was not to promote the idea that alcohol can have a variety of short and long-term effects on the health, lifestyle and relationships of a child. Instead, LiMSA tried to achieve the goal of uniting the small communities at schools and showing them that awareness raising activities can be as fun and engaging as anything else a teenager finds appealing.

In addition, LiMSA initiated a resolution on evidence-based alcohol policies. Resolution was adopted by Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) and called for total ban of alcohol advertisement, increase in taxation and reduction of availability (less dense alcohol sale markets, stricter licensing system, etc.). Resolution was presented in the Ministry of Health and discussed with the Minister himself. LiMSA and other Lithuanian youth organizations strongly believe that evidence-based alcohol policies can change alcohol consumption patterns and reduce alcohol related harm in the country.
CESAVO, Italy: Report on adapting new school based interventions
APYN’s Observing member CESAVO (Centre for Voluntary Service of Savona) has carried out an anonymous internet survey, to collect data about alcohol consumption and how much people agree or disagree with alcohol policies in Italy.

The results were discussed and presented in a press conference. Surprisingly, the results of the survey weren't as dramatic as expected: alcohol consumption was in a low range of risk and almost everyone agreed to alcohol policies now adopted in Italy, but they didn’t want them to become stricter.

The next step was the intervention in the high school: as active participants, 9 students were involved, in order to be trained as peer educators, and 5 of them were involved as mystery shoppers. With them a lesson was carried out where the alcohol problem was explained from every point of view (medical, social, psychological). The students brainstormed ideas about alcohol prevention and how to reach young people.

In addition, during mystery shopping volunteers visited six different selling points in two days and bought beer, wine and spirits, to see the different reactions of the sellers. Sadly, the results were shocking – 100% of selling points sold alcohol to minors. On the other hand, it was a great indicator that law is not enforced enough and that alcohol consumption among young people is not recognized as a problem. Even the mystery shoppers were shocked by the accessibility of alcohol.

The best part and the "boosted" part of the project was visible in the last phase, when the Italian partners prepared a broad Media-advocacy campaign. Some results can be found here :)

Overall, participants see importance and effectiveness of such activities. It helps to raise awareness and show how laws are implemented in the country.
Alcohol Policy Youth Network's news
5th Alcohol Policy Youth Network General Assembly 2016
The new Executive Board and Monitoring Committee members were elected.

On the 17th of May 15 representatives of APYN full, associate and observing members gathered in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to be part of the 5th APYN’s General Assembly.

The event was opened with a speech by the current president Jan Peloza, who shortly presented what has been done since the last meeting of the Assembly. After that each of the current board members presented their individual work on their position and the Assembly confirmed their reports. Financial and content reports from 2014 and 2015 were presented, as well as the plan from executive board for this year.

New organizations who wanted to join APYN were also presented and the GA confirmed one new full member (Peace Revolution from UK), two new associate members (CICHR from Moldova and CAZAS from Montenegro) and two new observing members (DFIA from Italy and CEDAR from Croatia). The APYN Network now consists of 14 Full Members, 15 Associate Members and 6 Observing Members. More about the members can be found here.

After the confirmation of new members the time has come for the Executive board and Monitoring Committee to say goodbye, since the next thing on the agenda was the presentation of the candidates for new board members. Then the elections followed and the APYN Network finally got new Executive Board that is composed of:

  • Lukas Galkus (Lithuanian Medical Students' Association) President
  • Vlad-Alexandru Grosar (Youth Can Do It!) Vice-president for Membership
  • Ines Kebler (Slovenian Medical Students' International Committee) Vice-president for Development of Youth Work on the Alcohol Field and Training
  • Nurbanu Sahan (Civil Life Association Turkey) Vice-president for Youth Research
The new Monitoring Committee consist of:
  • Jan Peloza (No Excuse Slovenia) Monitoring Committee member
  • Sofia Ribero (EMSA) Monitoring Committee member
  • Ingunn Aanes (Juvente Norway) Monitoring Committee member

Read more about the elected Executive Board and Monitoring Committee on our webpage :)

After the confirmation of the newly elected board members the new president Lukas Galkus gave a speech in which he expressed his will to continue good work of the former Executive Board and strengthen APYN even more.

In the final part the participants of the GA discussed the strategic plan for 2016-2020 and prepared some guidelines for the new Executive Board and shortly evaluated the Let it hAPYN! project. After a whole day in session the time came to say goodbye and promise to each other we will meet again for the 6th GA in 2017.

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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