Strategy to prevent alcohol consumption for underage children in Colombia

Brief: To present before the members of the health secretary of Bogotá, Colombia a strategy that prevents alcohol consumption in children under 18. 


Introduction and first approach 

Alcohol consumption in minors is not a new problem. To create a preventive strategy one has to understand the cultural and social context of the country. It is not the same to design this project in Germany, USA or Colombia because the user and his context change.

The project was co-created between two designers and one psychologist: Laura Roderos, Michelle Schäfer and Valeria Reyes (psychologist). We received a brief and an introduction to the problem of alcohol consumption of minors in Colombia from the health secretary. Initially the brief was very extended; our psychologist suggested we had to limit our audience because a 5 year old is very different from a 6 year old in many aspects.

Our first approach was to investigate theories in psychology to be able to delimit and define our audience. This way we could present a more efficient project.

Alcohol consumption in minors is not a new problem. To create a preventive strategy one has to understand the cultural and social context of the country. It is not the same to design this project in Germany, USA or Colombia because the user and his context change.

 

The project was co-created between two designers and one psychologist: Laura Roderos, Michelle Schäfer and Valeria Reyes (psychologist). We received a brief and an introduction to the problem of alcohol consumption of minors in Colombia from the health secretary. Initially the brief was very extended; our psychologist suggested we had to limit our audience because a 5 year old is very different from a 6 year old in many aspects.  


Defining the audience

To define the audience the psychologist encouraged us to research:

1.    The human development stages

2.    The Behavioral change theories

3.    The Experiential learning cycle

From this investigation we could define that the best age range for our project is from 10 to 12 years. Children at this age present characteristics that were important for our purpose. In the following pages I will show the most meaningful findings and insights that helped define the audience and build the project. 


Piaget’s developmental Theory 

In recap the following characteristics are found in the age range from 10 to 12 years:

• Changes at a cognitive level 

• Ability for concept abstraction

• Transition from formal operation to concrete operation:  thinking about the future, 

   the abstract and the hypothetical is possible.

• Ability of abstraction, deduction and problem solving

Behavior change Model by Prochaska & DiClemente

Knowledge is essential to promote change by accepting and recognizing a problem.

The chosen audience, as seen further on, has not yet started a consumption behavior. The opportunity is found in intervening the precontemplation stage to achieve change before the habit exists. 

 

Experiential education by Dewey

This theory explains how humans can learn from experiences thanks to the ability to create reflection, conceptualization, abstraction and implementation of the knowledge involved. It is important to recreate negative experiences with alcohol consumption to accomplish a deep and lasting wisdom.

   

 

 

From this first research stage emerges the opportunity to design for children between 10 and 12 years of age. UNICEF classifies this age as early adolescence (UNICEF, 2013).

It turns out to be an ideal age to influence risk perception since children are transitioning between childhood and adulthood. Significant changes happen on a fiscal and psychological level. 

From the research previously made and the wide knowledge provided by the members of the health secretary we established that an integral module for prevention of alcohol consumption in early adolescents in ages 10 to 12 is required.

 


The project “Verdaderamente Real” 

(Really Real) was designed as a product of psychopedagogic character that  impacts at a primary prevention level on the alcohol consumption problem in underage children.  Serving as a guide and orientation in decision-making processes and risk perception of early adolescents.

GENERAL AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:

–Increase risk perception of alcohol consumption in early adolescents (10-12 years)

–Provide extensive knowledge about alcohol and its consumption.

–Support the recognition of risk and protection factors. 

–Include interactive and/or ludic methods that promote experiential learning

–Guidance in the construction of the “self” (personal identity) 

–Intercede problem from different angles. For example: decision-making in early teenagers.

–Strengthen bonds between the caregiver and the student to develop open, trusting communication.

–Bring the early adolescents closer to the health and social risks involved in alcohol consumption at THEIR age. 

Implementation

The strategy will be implemented in public and private schools in science or group direction class, depending on each school. Using the existing space provided for alcohol prevention is crucial, making room for new periods of time is very complicated. This way we needed to fit the project into existing time span. 

 


THE Student Booklet

The student booklet has seven chapters, each one designed to meet the general and specific needs of the project. Every chapter builds upon the previous one, that means it has to be studied in the correct order. 


Prototyping 

Chapter 2 of the Verdaderamente Real module was prototyped. The class has 26 children in ages 9 to 11. It was realized with the direction of the teachers and the headteacher (Sandra Patricia Santamaría Ovalle) in the “Liceo Infantil Goofy” school located in Bosa (a location in Bogotá known for violence and poverty).

Calle 65 f sur # 78c- 32, Bogotá, Colombia

The results: 

• Student where enthusiastic and creative

• Student showed participative and open to learn new things

• The chapter was completed in 26 minutes

• It was proved that ludic activities work better combined with theory reading

• The children where eager to do the activity properly and went through a lot of effort for the paintings

• Student where surprisingly creative when picking names for their individual profiles

Evaluation 

In the evaluation of programs the “systematic research trough scientific methods over the effects, results and objectives of a program with objective to take a decision on it” (Fernández-Ballesteros, 1995, p. 23; quoted in Vargas & Gambara, 2007) is implied.

An evaluation of the project Verdaderamente Real is made, based on two components.

1.) The evaluation of needs

2.) The evaluation of design

• Is it possible to implement the program as it has been designed?

Yes. After prototyping the project in the Liceo Infantil Goofy school is could be determined that the proyect Verdaderamente Real achieves the goals, general and specific, that are proposed and it can be implemented in public and private schools in Bogotá from social strata 1 to 6. 

• Which problems can present in the implementation process? 

-Costs: the needed materials imply monetary costs of production that the schools will have to provide if the health secretary doesn’t support them.

 -Time: teachers have different educational styles, which can extend the time needed for each session.

• Does the organization count with the resources, skills and compromise required to implement a strategy like Verdaderamente Real?

Yes, because the strategy requires basic infrastructure that is already available in any educational center. Some materials could represent a difficulty: the liver and the plants could be harder to obtain, but are not uncommon in the market. The strategy is intuitive and easy to understand, for both students and teachers, in a way that they don’t require training beyond the teacher booklet included in the project. Finally, the school is already assuming the compromise; each school tries to offer a prevention program such as the D.A.R.E program of the national police.

• Does the organization have the required experience to proceed with the intervention? 

Yes, because the strategy was designed having the basic pedagogic skills of any teacher in mind.