July 2 — Facilitators at a regional workshop organized By the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat on the Use of Edutainment in Primary Drug Prevention in Antigua and Barbuda agreed that edutainment – a communication strategy for the purposeful design of media messages which entertain and educate – is a very effective tool in reaching and influencing the attitudes and behaviour of young people. CARICOM Secretariat’s Deputy Programme Manager for Culture, Riane de Haas-Bledoeg in her presentation endorsed edutainment as concept which had systematically made use of the generation-old collective wisdom that “one learns best when one has fun while learning” She explained that CARICOM Heads of Government, at its 27th Conference in St Kitts and Nevis in 2007, had considered seriously the recommendation made By the President of Suriname HE Dr. Ronald Runaldo Venetiaan to promote edutainment as a tool for advocacy and behaviour change, especially among youth. De Haas-Bledoeg said that since then, CARICOM Secretariat had utilized this media to increase public awareness on various matters, including HIV and AIDS. She added that it had been used in several initiatives, including the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme (CYAP), the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Edutainment Project, CARIFESTA X Youth Village in Guyana in 2008, the STRIVE Edutainment Manual, and more recently, it was used to present the findings of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD) Report on the situation of Caribbean youth, to Heads of Government at a Special Summit in Suriname. In her presentation, Director for the Centre of Communication Studies, University of Guyana, Dr. Paloma Mohamed explored communication theories such as the Social Learning Theory which she said supported the use of edutainment as an effective learning strategy; and illustrated how best this tool could be used in reducing the demand for illicit drugs. The five-day workshop which opened on Monday, 28 June, was organised in partnership with the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Health, Social Transformation, Prices and Consumer Affairs, with funding from the European Union, under the 9th EDF programme. It has brought together more than sixty young people from 13 Member States, who for the five days, will be trained in using edutainment strategies to educate their peers on the social, physical and judicial consequences of substance abuse. The workshop forms part of a broader strategy of the CARICOM Secretariat to use training interventions to build the capacity of Member States to treat with the thorny issue of substance abuse and illicit trafficking.