Underage drinkingInitiatives engaging with underage
Since autumn 2015 the Dutch Brewers have been working with the Dutch Debat Instituet during the school year on a new way of encouraging responsible attitudes towards beer consumption amongst VMBO (14 – 16 year olds). Students are asked to discuss a proposition about alcohol in the form of a debate, gathering information, thinking about it and inventing arguments for and against the proposition. As well as making them think about responsible consumption it provides information on how VMBO students think about responsible drinking. This is then fed into the debating process to make it even more effective.
Zagreb Brewery (Molson Coors Croatia) supported in 2015 a roadshow for elementary school students in four cities in Croatia. In addition to documentary film viewing, medical experts and celebrities that young people can relate to talked about dangers of underage drinking. In total 1010 elementary school students participated in the road show, making it a very successful initiative that will continue due to great interest expressed from both students and teachers. The project is supported by the Croatian Agency for Education.
In the Czech Republic “Na zdravi?” (‘cheers?’) is a prevention program of Heineken which aims to raise awareness of alcohol-related risks among minors. The project features a unique format that is called forum theatre and allows interactive audience engagement. There are three alcohol- and youth-related stories played out by actors. The plots are based on a long-term research among senior primary school pupils, reflecting the most common risks with which they are faced. These include alcohol consumption prompted by peer pressure or because of their first love, drinking in the company of older friends and related drunk driving risks. After the performance, pupils choose the story that appealed most to them and may alter and change it as they please. The kids have the opportunity to take the role of actors or become their prompters. This brings the audience into the act, allowing them to steer the plot on the basis of their experience, opinions and beliefs. Each performance is unique, leaving it up to the kids to decide which situations they want to follow and which they think ended badly and need to be mended. The prevention centre believes the direct engagement method to be the most successful tool in prevention. In 2013, around 1,500 pupils from primary schools, special schools, youth care facilities and diagnostic institutes attended the program. Preventive program participants received worksheets to follow up on the topic at school or in their free time. Also, steps were taken to have the program accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and to evaluate it.
In the UK, as part of the commitment made to the government to fund a pilot of life skills and alcohol education in schools with a startup cost of £250,000, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) was in 2015 granted £50,000 over two years from the Brewers’ Research and Education Fund to contribute to the funding of this pledge. In addition a number of BBPA members have contributed to the fund. Research shows that equipping young people with the life skills that they need can help to ensure a balanced and healthy attitude to alcohol in later life. The funding is going towards trialling the best approach to delivering this education. LEAF is the new charitable foundation, specifically set up to provide a barrier between funders and the delivery of education programmes in schools. LEAF will commission evaluation and reporting of delivery of the programmes in schools.
In Poland Grupa Zywiec supports an alcohol prevention program for gymnasium and post-gymnasium pupils that creates an interaction platform for groups interested in reducing the negative effects of alcohol consumption by young people. It was developed with the help of Dominika Maison, Professor of Psychology at Warsaw University and Katarzyna Korpolewska PhD, a psychotherapist and coach. The activity began with a series of prevention classes for pupils, teachers and parents in schools. It included modules for groups playing a key role in reducing the negative effects of alcohol consumption among young people. The initiative also had elements intended for shop owners and sellers, the police and city guards, as well as parents, their children and schools. It was the first program of this kind launched in Poland by a company representing the brewing sector. Between 2010 and 2014 “Coalition for Youth sobriety” trainers conducted 215 workshops for pupils, parents, teachers and the police.