Media Releases

20 September. Free State. Aware.org in association with the Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Agency Launches the Responsible Trading Facilitation Programme for a Better Tomorrow

20 September, Free State. The Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) affirmed its commitment to alcohol harm reduction in association with the Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Agency (FSGLTA) to address responsible trading in the Free State.

This initiative, launched in the Eastern Cape in August, forms part of aware.org’s national Community Formalisation Programme that is currently rolling out, in its first phase, in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State, and Gauteng respectively. The Provincial Liquor Boards are and will be instrumental in the success of this programme.

As an independent industry body, aware.org has taken a programmatic approach in its efforts to work collaboratively with community stakeholders to facilitate safer and alcohol harm-free environments. Traders are a significant focus in this regard. To this end, aware.org partnered with Sekika to implement their Responsible Trade Facilitation (RTF).

The aim of the initiative is to broadly:

  • Educate consumers, parents and children about the dangers of alcohol use and misuse and the risks related to underage and binge drinking
  • Provide training, support and mentorship to traders in understanding how to comply with liquor laws and how operate within these laws, and to better serve the communities in which they operate
  • Leverage the programme’s results to build better relationships with key stakeholders

“We, together with the FSGLTA, want to build a culture of responsible alcohol consumption in South Africa. This shared vision makes it possible to address the fight against alcohol use and misuse. This requires a collective effort, and to achieve this “change” we need the support of the community at large, liquor traders and parents and/or caregivers of minors. Communities will be empowered through learning and engagement, resulting in change within societal interactions and the setting of clear boundaries”, says Ingrid Louw, CEO of aware.org.

Aware.org together with its strategic stakeholders remains mindful of their significant role in building ongoing, permanent relationships with communities to create a positive impact. Ensuring that stakeholders have access to the right opportunities, information and tools to make the right choices is crucial to help create self-sustaining communities and formally recognise the sector’s contribution to sustainable socio-economic development.

“Our mandate as the FSGLTA on the RTF pilot project could have not reached this point without the involvement of the traders, our direct community stakeholders within the liquor industry. Their acceptance to trade responsibly is crucial as they are at the coalface of the interaction with patrons and when they buy into our strategy towards the eradication of alcohol misuse and abuse in the communities in which they operate, then we will have achieved our mandate as partners, says Kenny Dichabe, CEO of the FSGLTA.

The outcome of this initiative is to realise a balance between compliance and trade that sees evidence-based outcomes of harm reduction, and the realisation of strategic partnerships like that with the FSGLTA  are the life blood of our harm reduction mandate.

#AwareOfTomorrow

5 September, 2018 Make a Pledge for a Better Tomorrow for South Africa’s Children this September

MEDIA RELEASE

5 September, 2018
Make a Pledge for a Better Tomorrow for South Africa’s Children this September

South Africa has the highest rate of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASD) globally, studies show that over 11% of children born in South Africa have some level of FASD, which is 14% higher than the average incidence worldwide, according to research published in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Paediatrics. The 9th of September is International FASD Awareness Day and the Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) is calling on all South Africans to join in on a global pledge to support the prevention of FASD and the harm caused by alcohol during pregnancy.

“Your baby’s tomorrow starts when you don’t drink. No amount of alcohol is safe if you are, or even think you may be pregnant. Alcohol can reach your baby within 20 minutes after taking a drink and is toxic for the unborn child. It may cause damage to any of the unborn child’s organs; the brain and the nervous system are the most vulnerable. Babies exposed to alcohol whilst in the womb are at risk of permanent brain damage,” says Ingrid Louw, CEO of aware.org.

Aware.org, a non-profit organisation (NPO) registered with the Department of Social Development (DSD), is fulfilling its mandate as the custodian of alcohol harm reduction, by raising awareness of and educating around FASD. This involves aware.org’s support of various programmes that are being implemented by its strategic partners, including DSD and the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research(FARR)2.

An estimated six million people in South Africa are affected by FASD and at least three million people are affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), according to research conducted by FARR.

If exposed to alcohol whilst in the womb, after birth the baby may have a whole range of physical, neurological and behavioural problems that become more and more evident with time. FASD lowers intellectual ability, an average IQ for a normal child is 100, a child with FAS may have an average IQ range of between 65 and 75

In addition to intellectual deficits, a child with FAS may suffer from the following defects: growth retardation (before and after birth they are small for their age); any organ can be damaged, especially the brain, eyes, ears and heart and the baby’s facial features could be affected.4 FASD causes brain damage which results in lifelong problems such as learning disabilities, interpersonal relationship problems, developmental disabilities such as fine motor development, coordination, arithmetic and cause and effect reasoning. In addition, most of these children have attention and hyperactivity problems (with symptoms similar to ADHD).

“FASD is the leading cause of preventable birth defects and developmental disabilities in children around the world. FASD does not discriminate according to socio-economic status. It is more common than Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida and Autism combined.1 The really sad thing is that although the damage caused by FASD is permanent, it is 100% preventable. Any amount of alcohol can cause FASD and all you need to do to prevent it is not drink when you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.2 “Your child’s tomorrow starts today and what you do today affects your child’s tomorrow,” continues Louw.

FASD is not just a problem for pregnant women, it takes support from family, friends and the entire community to take a stand to combat FASD. It is in this light that aware.org is asking every South African to pledge to stop FASD in its tracks and be #AwareOfTomorrow.

In September, aware.org in partnership with the DSD aim to raise awareness about the negative impact of drinking alcohol when pregnant. Aware.org has invested in the DSD’s 999 FASD campaign which aims to mobilise communities countrywide against FASD. Roundtable community dialogues are being held in 9 provinces for 9 consecutive days culminating at an International FASD Awareness Day event at Birchwood in Johannesburg on the 9th day of the 9th month in the 9th province - Gauteng.

At the event, the focus will be on stakeholders from different sectors of society: Government, aware.org members, civil society, community members and media to pledge to help reduce the harm caused by alcohol to the unborn child through awareness and education. The Pledge is an international act in support of FASD prevention which involves the symbolic tying of a knot that is intrinsically linked to key aspects of FASD (please refer to the attached information sheet) followed by a minute of silence between 09h08 and 09h09 which is then broken by a bell signifying the pledge made on the 9th day of the 9th month. Participants will then be encouraged to sign a pledge scroll. The Pledge will be live streamed, and members of the public are urged to join in by clicking on the following aware.org social media handles from 08h40 on Sunday, 9 September 2018: @Awareorg (Twitter), AwareZA (Facebook).

Pledge now to make sure their tomorrow starts when you don’t drink…

#AwareOfTomorrow

Aware.org Partners with the Eastern Cape Liquor Board for Responsible Trading for a Better Tomorrow

07 August, East London. The Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) affirmed its commitment to alcohol harm reduction by partnering with the Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) to address responsible trading in the Eastern Cape.

This initiative forms part of aware.org’s national Community Formalisation Programme that will be rolled out, in its first phase, in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State, and Gauteng respectively. The Provincial Liquor Boards are and will be instrumental in the success of this programme.

As an independent industry body, aware.org has taken a programmatic approach in its efforts to work collaboratively with community stakeholders to facilitate safer and alcohol harm-free environments. Traders are a significant focus in this regard. To this end, aware.org is funding Sekika to implement their Responsible Trade Facilitation (RTF).
The aim of the initiative is to broadly:

  • Educate consumers, parents and children about the dangers of alcohol use and misuse and the risks related to underage and binge drinking
  • Provide training, support and mentorship to traders in understanding how to comply with liquor laws and how operate within these laws, and to better serve the communities in which they operate
  • Leverage the programme’s results to build better relationships with key stakeholders

“We, together with the Eastern Cape Liquor Board, want to build a culture of responsible alcohol consumption in South Africa. This shared vision makes it possible to address the fight against alcohol use and misuse. This requires a collective effort, and to achieve this “change” we need the support of the community at large, liquor traders and parents and/or caregivers of minors. Communities will be empowered through learning and engagement, resulting in change within societal interactions and the setting of clear boundaries”, says Ingrid Louw, CEO of aware.org.

Aware.org together with its strategic stakeholders remains mindful of their significant role in building ongoing, permanent relationships with communities to create a positive impact. Ensuring that stakeholders have access to the right opportunities, information and tools to make the right choices is crucial to help create self-sustaining communities and formally recognise the sector’s contribution to sustainable socio-economic development.

“It gives me great pleasure to join forces with aware.org, this strategic collaboration will enable us to cultivate and espouse a responsible drinking lifestyle in our province and ultimately South Africa as a whole. With this partnership, the efforts to ensure that those involved in the liquor industry may attain and maintain adequate standards of service delivery will prove to be a feat”, says Khanyile Maneli , CEO of the Eastern Cape Liquor Board.

The outcome of this initiative is to realise a balance between compliance and trade that sees evidence-based outcomes of harm reduction, and the realisation of strategic partnerships  like that with the ECLB are the life blood of our harm reduction mandate.

#AwareOfTomorrow

Aware.org and MER Launch Unique Underage Drinking Pilot in Mpumalanga 5 June 2018

Better Tomorrow Starts Today

The Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) together with the Mpumalanga Economic Regulator (MER) has launched a pilot project to tackle underage drinking in South Africa at an event with local stakeholders in Nelspruit.

This first phase has been rolled-out at schools in the Bushbuckridge area in Mpumalanga (Bushbuckridge Secondary School, Ngwaritsane Secondary School, Mavilian Primary and Sh Nyalungu Primary) and in Bothshabelo, Bloemfontein, (Hohle Primary, Ntemoseng Senior Secondary, Leratong Secondary and Pontsheng Primary). The MEC Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mr. Sikhumbuzo Eric Kholwane was in attendance and delivered the Keynote Address.

“South African children are drinking from a young age, and our country has the unenviable ranking of being the third-largest consumer of alcohol in Africa, and 19th in the world. The liquor industry is seriously concerned by the stats which show that our young people are, in fact, drinking from as young as 15 years of age (in South Africa, the legal drinking age is 18 years old),” says Ingrid Louw, aware.org CEO. “To tackle this problem, we have to start the conversation earlier. This is the rationale behind our programme, which we are calling It Starts Today.”

Underage drinking is a key pillar in aware.org’s broader programme to drive social change and promote responsible drinking. The It Starts Today programme aims to change the behaviour of junior high school learners (Grades 8 and 9) with regards to alcohol. This will mean changing harmful attitudes and practices regarding alcohol in these learners, and by changing the attitude towards underage drinking within the broader community in which these learners live.

Underage drinking is firmly established in South Africa. One in two teenagers are active consumers of alcohol, and 15 percent of males and 8 percent of females have had their first drink before the age of 13.

Accordingly, aware.org has developed a multi-pronged programme to address underage drinking in collaboration with strategic partners including the MER, HDI, YDX, TeenActiv, Project Isizwe and the HSRC. These partners are integral in realising sustainable change, as they operate on the ground.

“The MER is proud to be part of this programme, which seeks to bring awareness on the issue of underage drinking and provide young people in the Province with the tools to avoid the destructive effects irresponsible behaviour can have on their future. As a regulator, it is important to continue to discourage teenagers from drinking and abusing alcohol at an early age, as this puts their lives at risk. Every day we live with experiences of young people who lose their lives whilst engaged in activities that involve drinking, resulting in the lives of young people being cut short. We need to make a collective effort as communities to prevent this from happening by educating young people about the risks of alcohol from an early age”, says MER CEO, Mr Bheki Mlambo.

One fundamental element of the programme is the distribution of specially developed material aligned to CAPS to schools for use in Life Orientation classes, accompanied by support for the educators via workshops and online support. Aware.org have also developed a zero-rated content portal (www.awarefreewifi.co.za) to further assist the programmes and community at large.

An allied initiative, Project Isizwe, will enhance the portal accessibility by providing Internet hotspots across townships. The Project Isizwe Wi-Fi rollout includes access to free content, news and a micro-job ambassador programme. It will thus provide Internet support for all It Starts Today programmes by providing the right tools to educate and ultimately change behaviour. The material is tailored content for learners, educators, caregivers and parents alike. In addition, the township Wi-fi roll out will include added services.

As important, the programme will take its message to parents, teachers, tavern owners, church leaders, local government structures and the rest of society. This community engagement will help to reduce teenage alcohol consumption by changing attitudes and providing information about the realities of alcohol abuse. It will also aim at inspiring the community to assist the youth to imagine and then attain a productive future.

Community engagement will be driven by interventions at taxi ranks, community workshops, ambassador school talks, teen camps, tavern visits and exhibitions at shopping centres.

“Underage drinking has many dimensions, and we must address as many of them as possible, which is what we are trying to do,” says Ingrid. “With the help of the Human Sciences Research
Council, we will be monitoring and evaluating the pilot in order to refine the programme further before full roll-out,” concludes Louw.

#itstartstoday
aware.org.za
www.awarefreewifi.co.za

Aware.org Consumer Campaign Launch 31st May – Platinum Sky , 12th Floor, Sinosteel Building, Sandton, Rivonia

Making the right choice can change your tomorrow.

Aware.org looks at how responsible drinking can positively impact tomorrow.

Johannesburg, 31 May 2018. Aware.org, the Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org.za), launched a new consumer campaign focused on building a culture of responsibility and moderation within the alcohol ecosystem of brand-owners, consumers and other stakeholders.

The campaign, When you drink, drink Like There is a Tomorrow, seeks to enable consumers to rethink their choices when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. What is different about this campaign is that it defines what drinking responsibly is and highlights the positive impact thereof.

Aware.org’s focus is on preventing the negative consequences of alcohol abuse and, as such, has an important role to play in educating consumers in this regard. Research shows that South African’s have become desensitised to seeing cars crashing at high speeds, bodies flung into the distance on poorly-lit roads, and grieving families affected by reckless behaviour. This insight served as a catalyst to more effectively communicate their new campaign and position the positive future outcome of responsible drinking as a reason to do so.

“From the start, we wanted our message to be clear. We know that finger-wagging and the shock approach does not work; we’re in an age of social awareness and we know that we’ll make more of an impact if we can start having the right conversations around responsible drinking,” says Ingrid Louw, CEO of aware.org.

“We believe that this new approach is a move in the right direction. We will actively drive the campaign messaging and educate consumers across various platforms, with the hope that this transcends into consumers making the right choices, and in turn, that this will begin to drive behavioural change. When you drink, make the right choices so that your tomorrow is a better tomorrow,” adds Louw.

Social media platforms will deliver detailed content to fuel the right conversations and provide the right information, whilst radio and taxi TV will stretch and extend the campaign to all consumers. “We aim to supersede our past reach of 95 million consumers through television, radio, out of home, transit and digital platforms with the new campaign.” concludes Louw.

While there are none of the visceral images associated with the more traditional (and somewhat over-used) socially responsible advertising around alcohol consumption, the campaign delivers a hard-hitting and socially pertinent message: “Drink Like There is a Tomorrow”.

The Deputy Minister of the Department of Social Development, Mrs Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu was in attendance and delivered the Keynote Address at the Campaign Launch Event. This reinforced the collective responsibility of key role-players in alcohol harm reduction programmes in South Africa.

Aware.org Free State launch "A Better Tomorrow Starts Today" Pilot Programme to tackle Underage Drinking - 24 May 2018

The Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) has launched a pilot project to tackle underage drinking in South Africa. This first phase will target schools in Bothshabelo, Bloemfontein, (Hohle Primary, Ntemoseng Senior Secondary, Leratong Secondary and Pontsheng Primary) and in the Bushbuckridge area (Bushbuckridge Secondary School, Ngwaritsane Secondary School, Mavilian Primary and Sh Nyalungu Primary).

“South African children are drinking from a young age, and our country has the unenviable ranking of being the third-largest consumer of alcohol in Africa, and 19th in the world. The liquor industry is seriously concerned by the stats which show that our young people are, in fact, drinking from as young as 15 years of age (in South Africa, the legal drinking age is 18 years old),” says Ingrid Louw, aware.org CEO. “To tackle this problem, we have to start the conversation earlier. This is the rationale behind our programme, which we are calling It Starts Today.”

Underage drinking is a key pillar in aware.org’s broader programme to drive social change and promote responsible drinking. The It Starts Today programme aims to change the behaviour of junior high school leaners (Grades 8 and 9) with regards to alcohol. This will mean changing harmful attitudes and practices regarding alcohol in these learners, and by changing the attitude towards underage drinking within the broader community in which these learners live.

Underage drinking is firmly established in South Africa. One in two teenagers are active consumers of alcohol, and 15 percent of males and 8 percent of females have had their first drink before the age of 13.

Accordingly, aware.org has developed a multi-pronged programme to address underage drinking in collaboration with strategic partners including the Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism

Authority (FSGLTA), Mpumalanga Economic Regulator (MER) HDI, YDX, TeenActiv, Project Isizwe and the HSRC. These partners are integral in realising sustainable change, as they operate on the ground.

“The It Starts Today programme is one of the initial steps towards bringing about generational change in attitudes to alcohol. The fight against alcohol abuse and curbing underage drinking requires collective effort, and to achieve this “change” we need the support of the community at large, liquor registrants and parents of the minors. Communities will be empowered through learning and engagement, resulting in change within societal interactions and setting clear boundaries,” says FSGLTA CEO, Mr Itumeleng Kenny Dichaba.

One fundamental element of the programme is the distribution of specially developed material aligned to CAPS to schools for use in Life Orientation classes, accompanied by support for the educators via workshops and online support. Aware.org have also developed a zero-rated content portal (www.awarefreewifi.co.za) to further assist the programmes and community at large.

An allied initiative, Project Isizwe, will enhance the portal accessibility by providing Internet hotspots across townships. The Project Isizwe Wi - Fi rollout includes access to free content, news and a micro-job ambassador programme. It will thus provide Internet support for all It Starts Today programmes by providing the right tools to educate and ultimately change behaviour. The material is tailored content for learners, educators, caregivers and parents alike. In addition, the township Wi - Fi roll out will include added services.

As important, the programme will take its message to parents, teachers, tavern owners, church leaders, local government structures and the rest of society. This community engagement will help to reduce teenage alcohol consumption by changing attitudes and providing information about the realities of alcohol abuse. It will also aim at inspiring the community to assist the youth to imagine and then attain a productive future.

Community engagement will be driven by interventions at taxi ranks, community workshops, ambassador school talks, teen camps, tavern visits and exhibitions at shopping centres.

“Underage drinking has many dimensions, and we must address as many of them as possible, which is what we are trying to do,” says Ingrid. “With the help of the Human Sciences Research

Council, we will be monitoring and evaluating the pilot in order to refine the programme further before full roll-out,” concludes Louw.

#itstartstoday

aware.org.za

www.awarefreewifi.co.za

Aware.org / JMPD Rand Easter Show exhibition partnership - 30 March / 8 April 2018

Aware.org / JMPD Rand Easter Show exhibition partnership

The 2018 Rand Easter Show kicked off with fun-filled entertainment and lifestyle extravaganza for the whole family.

Held between Friday, 30th March and Sunday 8th April 2018, the event showcased Future Expo, Lifestyle Expo, Sports Expo, Outdoor Lifestyle and more.

In partnership with Johannesburg Metro Police Department, aware.org joined the list of exhibitors this year.

Aware.org ran a successful Alcohol Abuse Awareness program, to promote Responsible Drinking.

The two major areas of focus were Drinking and Driving/Walking and Under-age Drinking.

Representatives from aware.org educated the public about legal alcohol limits.

People generally aren’t aware of legal alcohol guidelines. Those who visited the stand seemed fascinated to learn.

Both JMPD and aware.org representatives explained the dangers of drinking and walking. The core message was, ‘If you plan to drink, get home safely. Call a taxi.’

Visitors to the stand were reminded that they should never drink and drive; there’s no acceptable amount of alcohol to drink if you’ll be behind the wheel.

There was a drinking and walking challenge, which involved participants wearing goggles which simulate being intoxicated – hazy blurry vision. People were required to walk in a straight line, on an allocated marked area. This initiative was very well received, with much laughs, but a real understanding of the impact of consuming alcohol irresponsibly.

Visitors were handed water bottles, driver’s licence holders, earphones and pens, with anti-alcohol-abuse messaging.

Overall, aware.org found the experience of running an information stall with JMPD fruitful, exciting and educational for all – an excellent endeavour.

The partnership with aware.org is very important to JMPD as it helped us to achieve success in educating the public about the dangers of drinking and driving. This subject is very close to our hearts because we lose our best men and women in uniform because of drunk drivers. The partnership with aware.org was a real success at the 2018 Rand Show. We hope to keep on working together to make our roads safer - JMPD Spokesperson and ‎Superintendent Edna Mamonyane

Aware.org Brand Launch - Thursday 30 November 2017 at Turbine Hall Johannesburg

Peter Ndoro served as MC during the launch

Renewed efforts by the Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) to reduce alcohol related harm in South Africa have been well received by its stakeholders, members and the media.

With the re-launch of the organisation that took place on Thursday 30 November 2017 in the heart of Johannesburg, the need to create a national culture of responsible drinking has realigned efforts to create a generation of South Africans that is free from alcohol abuse.

The commitment to creating this generation, took the form of a relaunch of the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) into the Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org). The rebranding symbolises the intrinsic purpose of the aware.org to drive collective efforts focused on creating a change in the country’s drinking behaviour.

“As a uniquely new organisation, the Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education or aware.org, we accept that we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect different results. We accept that we have a pivotal part to play in building and nurturing an alcohol harm- free South Africa. This will allow us to not lose another generation of South Africans to the scourge of alcohol abuse,” says Ingrid Louw, CEO of the aware.org.

Aware.org is well placed to re-write the narrative of alcohol abuse and misuse in this country. Its role is to support business and society to achieve deep and sustainable social change for the greater good. Through the adoption of an evidence based approach, the work being done will not only bring South Africa closer to global responses as it will have direct implications for national drinking practices as well as the public’s responsiveness to initiatives.

“Many of us do not consider ourselves alcohol abusers and yet alcohol responsibility and education remains a necessary priority in South Africa. As aware.org we understand that drinking responsibly is subjective as the parameters of this often come down to an individual’s preferences and right to choose. In partnership with the Road Traffic Management Cooperation (RTMC), our #MakeOneChange festive campaign will encourage the nation to review its drinking patterns in social and private settings. It is in these instances when alcohol abuse takes place even with those individuals who are not habitual drinkers, “continues Louw.

This co-ordinated and collaborative effort is supported by aware.org members who recognise the importance of creating a culture of responsible drinking. The nation will be educated about how much they drink and how they can do so responsibly.
“This multi-stakeholder approach makes it imperative to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards a single goal. We call upon our members and stakeholders here today to work with us. This is a journey that will see us not only disrupting the current trends but also turning the tide on alcohol abuse and misuse. it will also make us all responsible for the better!” concludes Louw.

Audio-visual

Aware.org.za CEO Ingrid Louw's interview on Power FM

Power FM 22 August 2018 Part 1

by Ingrid Louw - CEO Aware.org

Power FM 22 August 2018 Part 2

by Ingrid Louw - CEO Aware.org

Aware.org.za CEO Ingrid Louw's interview SABC Kids
Aware.org.za CEO Ingrid Louw on ENCA
TVC Video
Drink like there is a tomorrow
Behind the scenes TVC
When a society drinks double the worldwide average of alcohol, how do you inspire them to change?
Aware.org Launch Video
Multimedia Animations