FAST® was implemented in five developing Asian countries in an effort to reduce family violence and prevent child misconduct. Funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the FAST program became an integral component to a 2014 project which targeted these issues, among others, by testing family skills interventions within different socio-economic and cultural contexts.
In 2010, the World Health Organization determined violence to be one the “leading causes of death worldwide for people aged 15-44” (Maalouf & Campello, 2014). As an evidence-based program recognized for its ability to strengthen families, improve child behavior, and reduce toxic stress, FAST was selected as an effective intervention to reduce and prevent incidences of violence. By promoting family cohesion, a known protective factor, FAST improves children’s capacity to cope with life stressors and respond healthily to negative experiences, thus discouraging violence and conflict.
The FAST program was implemented in a total of five countries in Central Asia, including Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, with the long-term goal of scaling the program across each country through capacity, infrastructure, and coalition-building. The UNODC worked with local education and health ministries to support buy-in and local ownership of the project. Moreover, the UNODC received governmental authorization from all participating countries as additional support for FAST.
Program fidelity was monitored through the implementation of a program integrity checklist, as well as video-based calls with experienced Certified FAST Trainers. All FAST Teams (or facilitators of the program) in Asia also received in-person, comprehensive training from Certified FAST Trainers.
The retention rates for the program ranged between 80 and 100 percent. Despite different challenges faced by participating families, 80 to 100 percent of participants who attended their first session graduated from the FAST Program. Families from all five countries demonstrated decreased levels of conflict as per the conflict subscales of the Family Environment Scale (FES). In other words, families recruited to participate from all five countries showed reduced levels of family conflict as a result of going through the FAST program.
Two notable insights relative to the FAST program were gained from this project:
- First, FAST was shown to effectively reduce conflict among participants.
- Second, and perhaps more importantly, FAST was also shown to be effective across diverse contexts.
Families & Schools Together is inspired by the impact of FAST in Asia and the program’s ability to adapt and reach families across the world. Keep up the amazing work, FAST Community!