Promoting Hope, Forgiveness, Prudence, Spirituality and Self-control to Address Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Zambia: Evaluating and Scaling a Character Strengths Intervention​
TWCF Number
Project Duration
October 1 / 2021
- September 30 / 2024
Core Funding Area
Character Virtue Development
Amount Awarded
Grant DOI*

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

J. Paul Seale
Institution Augusta University Research Institute Inc.

Recognizing that unhealthy alcohol use (UAU) among youth in Zambia contributes to high rates of HIV/AIDS, school failure, and alcohol use disorder, the Augusta University Research Institute will lead an international team to create, implement, and conduct a longitudinal evaluation of a character-based intervention designed to decrease UAU and promote health, well-being, and thriving.

Led by project director J. Paul Seale, Medical College of Georgia psychiatry professor, and Wilbroad Mutale, professor in the University of Zambia School of Public Health, and Sion Harris of Harvard University, the Institute will integrate their Global Resilience Oral Workshops (GROW), a John Templeton Foundation­–funded resilience training program that promotes character strengths through storytelling and spiritual exercises with Celebration of Liberation (CL), acharacter-based substance-use-recovery program. The result will be a low-cost, scalable GROW/CL curriculum in two formats, one focused on prevention and the other on recovery. Facilitated by trained community volunteers, the storytelling-based GROW/CL program has the potential to reach low-income areas especially affected by UAU.

After finalizing the GROW/CL curriculum, the team will use a cluster-randomized wait-list control design with urban and rural classes of youth ages 14-17 or 18-24 to offer a 12-month intervention to separate cohorts of school-based and community groups. They will assess character strengths and UAU at four time points across 18 months to compare developmental trends using culturally adapted measures tested for reliability, validity, and invariance. Focus groups and structured interviews with participants, parents, school officials, GROW/CL leaders, community leaders, and national government representatives will deepen insights into public health impact, program successes, challenges, and scalability.

Program outputs will include online curricula and training materials for the two interventions, five validated character strength measures; reports summarizing study findings, public health impact, and implications for stakeholders; and eight presentations/open access publications targeting the public and scientific community. The team will offer a series of capacity-building webinars and live presentations for church leaders, government ministries, community-based organizations, chiefs and headmen, and GROW/CL grassroots organizations.

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