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 Substance Misuse Projects

Substance Misuse Project

Substance misuse forms a niche area of the Community Engagement Unit and several projects have been developed in the form of capacity building initiatives.  This development was in response to the need in the Western Cape and the Provincial Government's drive for higher education institutions to become actively involved in the training of professionals and community workers in the area of substance abuse.


The University of the Western Cape in partnership with the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town has therefore embarked on a substance abuse training initiative in response to the need expressed by the provincial and local authorities. The following projects have been developed by the unit:


  • Substance Abuse Project funded by Provincial Government of Western Cape
  • An introduction to substance abuse course for educators funded by Provincial Government of Western Cape
  • Prevention Programmes in Substance during pregnancy funded by the City of Cape Town
  • ​Training in Foetal Alcohol Syndrome funded by the City of Cape Town


The overal  aim of the  training programmes is to

  • Acquire competences in knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for effective substance abuse interventions of individuals, families and communities.

  • Understand and apply theoretical foundations necessary for substance abuse intervention of individuals, families and communities.

  • Application and strategies from an interdisciplinary approach on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of substance abuse.

  • Practice holistic effective intervention within a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach in diverse public and private settings (Bronfenbrenner’s – ecological).

  • Understand various perspectives in issues related to substance abuse interventions; 

  • Conduct research relating to monitoring and evaluation of substance use interventions in the Western Cape.
Substance Abuse Project
The Substance Abuse Project is a partnership initiative between the Western Cape Provincial Government, and the Community Engagement Unit at the University of the Western Cape. The focus of the Substance Abuse Project is aimed at developing the capacity of Community Workers, Lay Counsellors, Health Care Workers, and Religious Leaders, Sport Coaches or/and any individual working in the area of Substance Abuse. The partnership of the University of the Western Cape and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape commenced in 2011, when the University was invited to develop a proposal that addressed the lack of training of the community working specifically in the area of Substance Abuse.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Training Course
This Introductory Course is facilitated over a period of two (2) days, and it is intended to build awareness about Fetal Alcohol (FAS) and the impact of prenatal drinking on the mother and fetus. The aim is to explore the historical context and how alcohol reaches the fetus. The course explores various prevention and intervention, models including universal, selective and indicated prevention. It explores the Primary Health Care Approach to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The target audience for participation in the fetal alcohol training course offered at the Community Engagement Unit (UWC) are community workers, early childhood development workers, parents, Health care workers and all individuals interested to learn more about Fetal alcohol syndrome.

Brief Intervention and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
This Community Engagement initiative focuses on a partnership between the City of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape. It involves training post-graduate health sciences students to screen pregnant women for the use of substances in the communities of Belhar, Klipheuwel and Philadelphia. Once the screening has been carried out, the students facilitate and deliver a course, in the area of fetal alcohol syndrome, to individuals working in early childhood development centres.

Langeberg Substance Abuse Action Group(LSAAG)
The partnership between the Langeberg Substance Abuse Action Group (LSAAG) and the University of the Western Cape’s Community Engagement Unit was initiated at the World Substance Abuse Day in July 2015 and this was followed by a series of follow up meetings to discuss a way in which the University would be able to train community members in the Langerberg Municipality.  The LSAAG’s vision was to train 30 people, 20 from professional services such as the Department of Health and 10 strong identified caregivers actively working with substance abuse from the LSAAG membership forum within the communities of Ashton, Bonnievale, Montagu, Zolani, Nxqubela, and Robertson.  The ‘Introduction to the scope and definition of substance abuse training programme’ was held on 17 – 19 November 2015 where 19 individuals participated in the training.

Selection Criteria for the Substance Abuse Programme

Applicants will be selected to the programme based on the following criteria:

  • Individuals must not have a Higher Education Qualification
  • Be able to have good communication as well as basic writing skills
  • Individuals must be employed or volunteer in the area of substance abuse for example:

  • Community Workers,
  • Lay counsellors,
  • Community Practitioners,
  • Health care workers,
  • Community based organizations,
  • Non-profit organization,
  • Faith based organizations,
  • Sport coaches,
  • Parents

  • Individuals must commit to completing the 8 course programme
  • Individuals who are employed need written approval from employer to attend the 8 course programme
  • Individuals who volunteer at a substance abuse treatment centre, NGO, Faith-based organisation etc; need a letter from the organisation to indicate involvement.
  • Individuals must commit to deliver on the course requirements with regard to:

  • Reflection journals and assignments handed in on time as specified
  • Active Participation in the courses (group work and presentations will be required)
  • Completion of relevant monitoring and evaluation tools

  • Individuals need to commit to be present from 8h30 – 16h00 as indicated in the course programme
  • The CEU has many partners which are categorically listed and we acknowledge the submission of motivational letters in support of substance abuse programme applications, in no way does this exhaustively influence the process of selection.​

Community Engagement Unit - Graduation Ceremony 2013 ​

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