In IOGT International we believe in every human being’s inherent ability to contribute to the community.

We work from the conviction that children, adolescents and youth don’t need supervisors, but mentors. We are driven by the insight that children and youth can be leaders today.

In IOGT International we create enabling environments that support risk-taking, reflection, learning-by-doing and team work. In such environments – inclusive and safe – children and youth can practice to lead and be constructive members of a group; they can make mistakes and learn from them and they can grow on their own terms.

Children

We believe that what is good for children is good for the world. Our work is all about making sure that children can thrive, that their best interests are considered, taken care of and protected, and that every child has a happy, playful, free and enabling childhood.

The primacy and universality of children’s Best Interest, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) means that society should be much more child centered.

Therefore we emphasise the importance of drug free environments to protect children and advocate passionately for the creation of many more drug free environments for children and young people.

We and our Member Organizations offer, therefore, a wide variety and spectrum of activities for juniors. We see these activities as the foundation for their growth.

IOGT activities for, of and by juniors have the following characteristics:

  1. They have an educational value – by empowering children to work in groups, to conduct meetings, to reflect and think independently and to contribute to the community with their skills and talents.
  2. They have a psychological value – by giving understanding and consideration to every child, meeting the child’s needs – especially for children from families with alcohol problems.
  3. They have an individual value – by informing and supporting the children’s own decisions to live a life free from alcohol and other drugs.

The activities should allow children to feel safe and relax, to play and to be a child.

Our approach: Prevention-first

Preventing problems from occurring or expanding is obviously the best option to ensure the well being and development of the world’s children.

The Prevention First approach holds four major benefits:

  1. It is the most cost-effective approach.
  2. It is the most sustainable approach.
  3. It is the most people-empowering approach, and
  4. It is the most humane approach, particularly in the context of protecting and assuring the best interests of especially vulnerable children, like those from parents with alcohol problems.

Effective prevention methods exist and are in use continuously all over the world.

Adolescents

Adolescents – young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years – are often thought of as a healthy group. Nevertheless, many adolescents die prematurely due to accidents, suicide, violence, pregnancy related complications and other illnesses that are either preventable or treatable.

Many more adolescents suffer chronic ill-health and disability. Furthermore, many serious diseases in adulthood have their roots in adolescence. For example, alcohol or tobacco use, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, poor eating and exercise habits, or substance use disorders lead to illness or premature death later in life.

Alcohol and other harmful substances are major risk factor for ill-health and disability as well as pre-mature death.

And the alcohol industry, as well as other industries of the corporate consumption complex, are working aggressively to target adolescents with their marketing messages, to recruit new and younger consumer and foster brand loyalty as early as possible.

We are convinced that adolescents are more than future consumers. They future leaders for a better world. But they are also current change-makers, here and now. And they are citizens and advocates with vast potential and important insights.

Adolescents are central to everything we want to achieve in terms of global and planetary health and sustainable development.

It is for those reasons that we work with and for adolescents in special ways: We provide support to regional networks in Europe, India and South-East Asia – movements driven by and run for adolescents – to realize their rights to health, well-being, education and full and equal participation in society.

In IOGT International we hold that providing space for adolescent leadership is the best way to equipping them to attain their full potential as adults.

Young People

Alcohol a burden on youth

Young people in all parts of the world are more than ever exposed to the intoxicating alcohol norm originating from the Western world and penetrating all aspects of their lives – homes, leisure time activities, school, work, culture, friends.

Young people encounter alcohol consumption at homes by their parents, in media by their idols be it famous athletes or artists, in movies, at school events and of course online. Alcohol advertisements on the internet intentionally target young people. It is proven that the more alcohol advertisements are shown to youngsters, the earlier they start using alcohol, or the higher is their alcohol intake.

Another factor contributing to young people’s alcohol consumption are parents who mistakenly believe that consuming small amounts of alcohol at home will prevent their children from consuming high amounts of alcohol when being with their peers. The effect is the opposite and leads to even higher alcohol consumption.

A general lack of alcohol free environments for young people is yet another crucial factor leading to underage alcohol consumption and youth heavy episodic alcohol intake.

Early onset of alcohol use and heavy alcohol use in young years contribute to early school drop-out, youth unemployment, diseases, violence and accidents that are a great obstacle to both individual and societal development.

Our approach

IOGT International, through its youth activities, creates alcohol free environments, empowers young people, and changes the current myths built around alcohol consumption. IOGT International provides space for young people and youth workers to exchange knowledge and develop their work to keep it effective and attractive for youth. Member Organizations of IOGT International offer spare time activities, educate young people, empower community action, and advocate evidence-based alcohol policies that help prevent alcohol harm among youth.

In this context, we are proud of our European youth platform Active – sobriety, friendship, and peace. Active organises special programmes targeting youth including international seminars and training courses, conferences, workshops and camps on a regular basis. Active is also a recognised participant in youth networks and advisory committees in Europe.