NAIROBI, Kenya — Fractious religious groups in this East African nation are uniting to tackle alcohol and drug abuse, amid concerns the substances could wipe out a cross section of the younger generation.
From Sunday schools to Islamic madrassas, the groups are providing preventative education, public awareness and life skills training. Some also offer addicts rehabilitation and psychosocial support.
The drugs of choice are mostly alcohol, heroin, cocaine, as well as the milder bhang (marijuana) and khat.
In Central Kenya women have staged protests and destroyed local breweries, blaming increasing marriage breakups on alcohol and drug abuse.
“We have been taking a leading role for some time, since the community and the government have been in denial,” said the Rev. Wilfred Kogo, head of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa’s drug abuse division. “We are going beyond our own congregations to also educate our neighbors.”