South Sudanese Catholic Diocese Provides Psychosocial Training to Control Youth Drug Abuse

A group photo of participants who attended the training session on psychosocial support skills to control the abuse of drugs among the young people in South Sudan's Yei Diocese. Credit: ACI Africa

South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Yei has equipped over thirty people with basic psychosocial support skills to control the abuse of drugs among the young people in Yei River County of the country’s Eastern Equatoria State.

Speaking during the launch of the training Thursday, May 27 at Christ the King Parish, the Counselling Program Manager for Yei Diocese, John Lemeri Joseph said the training would be an essential component for the care providers among the youth in the East-Central African country.

“We noticed there are gender-based violence issues in the communities caused most especially by drug abusers. During this period of COVID-19, we came to realize, based on our assessment, that the youth are already involved in drug abuse,” Mr. Lemeri said.

He added, “We want to train these psychosocial promoters and care providers because they are our eyes in the community; they will help a lot in talking to the youth about the dangers of drugs so that we can be able to prevent the negative impact of drug abuse in the community.” 


Addressing the participants on behalf of the team set to monitor youth psychosocial issues, the team leader, Fr Tom Poru Martin, said the training was organized because of grave psychological issues resulting from drug abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This workshop about drugs is very important,” Fr. Poru said, and added, “The lives of people have been destroyed by this pandemic all over the world. People are psychologically sick; social distance has affected people badly.” 

“When the schools were closed, some of the children were affected terribly. Even now that the schools are open, teachers are facing difficulties because in the one and a half years of break, children have adopted different kinds of lifestyles,” the Catholic Priest said.

Abuse of drugs as the children tried to cope with the difficult situation they found themselves in is one of the negative habits that school-going youth adopted while they stayed away from school, the Priest shared. 

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“These are psychological issues that can only be dealt with through counselling,” he emphasized.

Yei River County Inspector of Gender, Emma Meling Charles, told participants at the event that it is a good initiative to include the Catholic Diocese of Yei in the counselling program.

“We need expansion of this project in all the areas within Yei so that people benefit from this knowledge offered here,” she said in her appeal to the Diocese, adding, “The communities are suffering here and they need support through the churches as the churches are the peace-makers.”

Organized by the Counselling Center of the Catholic Diocese of Yei, the training brought together 36 psychosocial promoters and care providers for a two-day session for anti-drugs and alcohol campaigns.