Best practice: in Uruguay, Dianova’s Vocational & Educational Advisors accompany, support, and guide those enrolling in the social reintegration programme
Dianova Uruguay has joined the Vocational & Educational Advisor initiative which enlists the active participation of excluded minorities in social integration programmes, one of the innovative principles of the organization itself.
“Actively working on the social integration of people receiving drug-related treatment, depending on their autonomy”
The National Drug Board (Junta Nacional de Drogas) – through the Social Integration Department – invited civil society organizations, foundations or interdisciplinary technical teams to provide suggestions for the development of social integration programmes for people undergoing drug treatment. Also present at this meeting were the Department of Montevideo and the Metropolitan Area.
At Dianova Uruguay, we have managed a whole range of educational, vocational, recreational, and cultural opportunities which are offered to those receiving drug treatment. These opportunities are designed to improve the residents’ integration in their community and society, from a new location. Thus, residents are able to strengthen their personal resources, always stemming from their own commitment and involvement in the process of change.
The projects have an individual assistance component, through which the completeness of the individual’s integration is ensured, creating the necessary links between the project and the treatment centre, or between the family and other institutional relations. We also provide direct assistance (where necessary) in emergency situations. This process is performed by the Vocational & Educational Advisor who specializes in drug-related problems.
The social integration programme is different from the therapeutic programme, and we aim not to superimpose actions but to work in a complementary and collaborative manner. This approach is absolutely vital, as is the creation of strategies in which the social institutions can participate and social initiative is a priority.
All of these actions work towards deconstructing the identity centred upon drug use, as well as the stigmatizing component that comes with this problem. For this reason, we set up potential new apprenticeships and social itineraries, as well as helping them meet alternative role models, and strengthening social networks and their access to these networks. A human rights perspective is present throughout the process, according to which the person is an actor and agent of the process of change.
Role of the Vocational & Educational Advisor
Dianova expects the advisor to be able to accompany, support, and guide those in treatment for drug-related problems in their social integration programme. Each participant receives personalized support, and the advisor must also ensure the sustainability of the suggestions and the continuity of the social, educational and vocational reintegration programmes.
In order to achieve this, it is essential to ensure to ensure a careful coordination with those involved in the programmes, such as the treatment counsellors and representatives of educational and vocational workshops in order to promote synergy and avoid inconsistencies.
At the start of the support process, it is important to create objectives with the participant through a strong therapeutic alliance and a reliable relationship, outlining agreements and tasks to be carried out:
- Develop an active approach to the joint construction of a personal project or job search.
- Identity strengths and weaknesses in order to create a main integration strategy.
- Understand which stage the treatment is at and mutually create a real target.
- Be able to distinguish between needs, wants, and interests and prioritise each of these accordingly.
- Promote the need to form relationships in a healthy manner and, if necessary, speak with the participant’s family in order to co-operate or mediate on what may be a positive family arrangement for both parties.
In terms of the user’s initiatives, we aim to develop and strengthen a healthy and sustainable reintegration plan, with the support of productive projects. We also aim to integrate training or education courses, depending on each person’s interests. Additionally, with the objective of reinforcing education, we look for internship opportunities that fit with their profile, as well as looking for housing solutions.
At Dianova, it is vital that the user understands the social programmes offered by the State as much as possible, in order to ensure that the participant has more options at their disposal when it is time to opt for one, and also to ensure that the option is right for them and will aid their development and successful reintegration.
This is why the idea has emerged to establish a networking system to give synergy to the whole process. We have endeavoured to make contact with institutions, one after the other, to solicit information on their programs. We have exchanged personal data, organized meetings and targeted official contacts to prepare future actions.
We’ve been able to build a programme tailored to each person’s needs for social integration while ensuring the continuity of the change process and the preservation of programme’s activities. Considerable efforts have been made to ensure the implementation of a practice not only effective but also integrating the values that are the bedrock of Dianova’s identity.
Ana Bordone, Social psychologist and educator
Socio-educational, vocational integration programme, “Rieles”