Bridging Information Gap and Driving Change around Drug Abuse - Bisong of SUSO Project Speaks

On inputs made around providing accurate and comprehensive information on drug abuse in Enugu communities, Speak Up Stand Out (SUSO) activist,  Bisong Busaosowo, shares his experiences and testimonials from his on-air and physical engagements with rightsholders:

We are thrilled by your contributive efforts towards the issue of drug abuse among young people, what spiced your interest in the area?

My interest in drug abuse prevention dates back to my days in secondary school where I began hosting anti-drug abuse events in my school as a social prefect. However, in 2018 one year after I was called to the Nigerian Bar, I had an experience that plunged me deeper into this field. I went to court one day and while I was waiting for my case to be called, a criminal case was called up for sentencing and it  involved a young man like myself who has been brought to court for using and selling marijuana. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. As he was led out of the courtroom that day, I thought about all of the possibilities that have been eroded in that young man's life because of substance abuse. I then decided that I was going to do my best to stop as many young people as possible from destroying their lives because of substance abuse. One month later after that courtroom experience, I launched an advocacy Initiative for drug abuse prevention in my State. I have not looked back since then.

What peculiar challenge have you identified through the work that you do through your project in the community?

Within the community my project is being implemented, many people have heard about drug abuse but there seems to be a lack of accurate and adequate information about substance abuse especially about substances commonly abused in the community.

More vividly, kindly describe how your project is bridging the gap in the issue?

One thing this project is clearly doing is bridging the information gap when it comes to drug abuse. Through our monthly classroom sessions with the beneficiaries, we are providing accurate information about drug abuse, debunking the lies/myths surrounding it and equipping beneficiaries with the skills they need to lead similar advocacies within their friends, family, and community. Our radio program was designed specifically for parents and teachers to breach the information gap. This has been very successful as we have had an increasing number of parents call in to the radio program asking questions and inviting the project team to come and conduct training for their parents' groups. Our social media campaign has also helped us bridge this gap further with over 12,000 persons reached.

What plans do you have to sustain the impact you are creating in the community?

Already I am building alliances with a government agency (post primary school management board & the private school owners association) in Enugu to implement evidence based school programs for drug abuse prevention in public and private schools. I want to empower teachers to lead prevention efforts with or without me available in their schools.

How has this shaped your passion & commitment for community development and social change going forward?

During the course of this project, I and the team have come across 2 cases of young people who became mentally destabilized as a result of abusing Mkpuru Mmiri (crystal meth). Crystal meth is one of the substances that our project has really given attention to. These cases reinforced in me that what I am doing has the potential to save lives and protect families. I'm more resolved now to take this ADVOCACY to the next level.



NG YouthSDGs


Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2022


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