Territorial intervention: This national project involved 19 middle schools of 18 cities: Eboli (SA), Naples, Parma, Rome, Genoa, La Spezia, Corio (TO), Turin, Vallesusa (TO), Martina Franca (TA), Sassari, Enna, Noto (SR), Ragusa, Florence, Grosseto, Cecina (LI), Vicenza.
Participants: 1.000 students in 47 classes of 19 middle schools in Italy
Duration: 12 months, school year 2009/2010
Financing: Ministry of Health, CVD Commission for the supervisory and control of doping and for health protection in sports activities.
It 'a campaign of information and awareness on the issues of doping for young people with the aim to focus the attention on specific subjects (you might call "cultural assumptions of doping") such as the use and abuse of protein integrators and pharmacological additives even if not included among the banned substances for doping. In the age group of middle schools, supplements and pharmacological additives are in fact a nearest risk that already has kids as consumers in not negligible percentages.
Reference was made on the one hand, to the correlation between the use of protein integrators and doping and, on the other hand, to the correlation between drug abuse and doping, in a cultural framework that includes the themes of eating habits, lifestyles, the personal and family relationship with drugs, the propensity to take substances dangerous to health. Considering the influence that the media have on lifestyles and behaviours of adolescents also regarding sport, it was considered interesting to ask the students to become journalists, editors, reporters in the field. The innovation over previous campaigns took place in terms of communication: the students made a class newspaper, becoming a drafting group, with specific tasks, on the above mentioned topics.
1. to give continuity training and expand the positive experience of the previous projects developed by the Association, raising awareness an increasing number of young people on the pharmacological phenomenon of pollution, the use and abuse of protein integrators, pharmacological additives and doping in sport activities.
2. to take the already tried and tested methodology of peer education, enhancing the cognitive and creative leadership of students in middle schools and involving them in the design and implementation of communication campaigns targeted at their peers, parents, coaches and the public opinion.
3. to reconfirm a specific role for parents, identifying them as testers of the awareness campaign.
4. to implement both materials provided by the ISS (the media kit "The protection of health in sport and the fight against doping), that the works made by students during previous Uisp campaigns.
5. to focus the attention to some specific topics such as the use and abuse of protein integrators and pharmacological additives even if not included among the banned substances for doping.
6. to draft a class newspaper, offering the students the opportunity to become a drafting group, with specific tasks on the above mentioned topics.
The relevance of the project is the innovative methodology choice which combines the use of the instrument of peer education with adult reference figures such as parents, teachers, coaches and experts. The experiment phase, though set as a formation/information campaign, and so flexible about the executive choices taken at local level, it has maintained strong elements of coherence and planning homogeneity, which enabled a comparison of the results and the communication products. This project was achieved by making the students protagonists: supported by their teachers and Uisp educators, the students became scientific editors and journalists looking for news in sports clubs, gyms and drugstores, interviewing athletes, coaches, nutritionists and doctors. The newspapers have been collected in a single publication that testifies the commitment of students in favour of a clean sport, of the respect of rules and against doping.