March 18, 2020

Inspirations from the world – the 6th Planet Youth Conference

Carlos Charme

The sixth Planet Youth Conference took place in Reykjavik Iceland on the 4th to 6th of March. The event was set in the beautiful location of Grand Hotel Reykjavik, with a view over both sea and mountains on the cold but sunny first days of the month.

„The ultimate goal of Planet Youth is a better life environment for children and their families, “Jon Sigfusson director of ICSRA mentioned in his opening words. The conference’s theme was Inspirations from five continents, which was presented by our partners around the world who have been implementing the model in their local environment. The theme was also echoed by ICSRA staff, for example in Michaels J. Mann‘s, Community Intervention Specialist, talk who spoke about the step by step implementation of the model and it‘s portable elements. How it‘s core elements can be successfully taken from Iceland to other places in the world.

Jon Sigfusson pointed out that „It is really inspiring when we see that our partners are adding to our tools and our approach in an organic growth of the Icelandic model. Using the surveys and methodology as the basis for their work to understand the underlying problem in children’s environment and then both using proven methods and also developing new ones to use in their local areas.“

One of the countries that has been using the Planet Youth methodology for the past three years is Ireland where Emmet Major, Community Liaison Worker WRDATF, controls the operations for Mayo, Roscommon and Galway. Emmet spoke about the essence of their strategy: „One of the things we‘ve been very keen to do is to take what‘s very dense, detailed information and data. And condense that down into simple key messages for parents that they can do collectively that will help address problems that we have around substance use, sleep deprivation, screen use, vaping … and things like that.“

Carlos Charme the director of SENDA, National Service for the Prevention and Rehabilitation of Drug and Alcohol Consumption, gave the opening lecture of the international day. Chile has been using the Planet Youth methodology in their national prevention campaign „Elige vivir sin drogas“ and after his speech ICSRA and SENDA signed a new agreement to expand the work from 50 municipalities to around 150 municipalities in Chile. This will give the country a comprehensive insight into the lives of young people nationwide, which will form a solid basis for the improvement work, which is planned for the coming years in the country.