The Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Wednesday launched the SMASHED programme in Lagos. This is in collaboration with the Collingwood Learning Incorporated and Thespian Theatre.
Endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Health and supported by local health and education authorities in Nigeria, the programme is aimed at breaking the culture of underage drinking and reducing alcohol-related harm among Nigerian youths.
A global theatre-in-education programme initiated by Collingwood Learning Incorporated, SMASHED has engaged over half a million young persons in 20 countries of the world, since its inception in 2004. It involves the delivery of key learning on the dangers of underage drinking and alcohol-related harm to secondary school students, using drama presentations, while engaging participants in a motivational learning environment and equipping them with the facts, skills and confidence to make responsible choices and develop responsible attitudes in health-related matters.
In his remarks, the BSG chairman, Mr. Jordi Borut Bel, stated: “We are delighted to support the adoption of the SMASHED underage drinking programme, as it strengthens activities that are currently being undertaken by individual member companies to ensure that our products are not sold to or consumed by persons under the age of eighteen years.”
He further noted that the project, which commenced in May in Edo State, would move to Anambra and Enugu States in September and October, covering over 60 public and private schools and reaching over 14,000 students.
“The expectation of the BSG is that the programme will be scaled-up to involve at least six additional states in Nigeria by 2020 with plans for wider coverage in the coming years,” Borut Bel said.
In her comments, Ms Ayo Jaiyesinmi, CEO, Thespian Theatre, assured her outfit will continue to partner with the BSG and local health and education authorities in ensuring that the programme addresses issues related with underage drinking among Nigerian youths.
While affirming the endorsement of the initiative by the Federal Ministry of Health, Pharm Celine Onunkwo, Deputy Director, Food and Drug Services Department of the Ministry, said the objective of the SMASHED project is in line with the global strategy to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol, which was put together by the World Health Organization in 2010 and the WHO Global Action Plan for the prevention and control of STDs in 2013 – 2020.
She assured that the Federal Ministry of Health would continue to work with BSG, using the existing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, in order to ensure that the activities continue to be in the best interest of public health.