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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, has collaborated with Red Stripe to launch a new feature of the company’s Responsible Drinking campaign, which will use a live theatre production on the dangers of underage drinking, to engage students from 30 high schools islandwide.
  • The initiative, being dubbed the Movement, seeks to change youth attitude to alcohol drinking and to provide information on the facts of alcohol, through exploration of causes and consequences of alcohol misuse.
  • It also aims to empower students to tackle peer pressure and make informed decisions.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, has collaborated with Red Stripe to launch a new feature of the company’s Responsible Drinking campaign, which will use a live theatre production on the dangers of underage drinking, to engage students from 30 high schools islandwide.

The initiative, being dubbed the Movement, seeks to change youth attitude to alcohol drinking and to provide information on the facts of alcohol, through exploration of causes and consequences of alcohol misuse. It also aims to empower students to tackle peer pressure and make informed decisions.

State Minister in the Ministry, Hon. Floyd Green, in remarks at the launch ceremony on (March 18, in Red Stripe’s Hospitality Suite, at its Spanish Town Road location, lauded the company for the initiative, which he hailed as timely and wonderful.

He further commended Red Stripe’s continued drive to eliminate underage drinking and noted that this is in tandem with the Ministry’s policy against substance abuse, promulgated through the School Safety and Security Manual. He added that  the Ministry has also been tackling the problem through the primary and secondary school Family and Health Care programme.

“We have been doing it, but we need support. It will take partnership to change culture. It will take partnership for us to have a different outlook and a different approach and this sort of partnership that brings in corporate Jamaica, community and government, that is what we need,” Mr. Green said.

He added that the ‘Movement’ is a good example of corporate social responsibility and urged other corporate entities to initiate similar ventures.

Head of Corporate Relations of Red Stripe, Dianne Ashton-Smith, explained that the participating schools will also be provided with interactive workshops, teaching material and evaluation, in addition to the live performance, which will be done by a group from the Sankofa Arts and Facilitation company.

“The Movement is singularly about emboldening kids to not drink and instead focus on setting goals and dreaming big,” she said.

She explained that the tools developed will equip teachers to have quality discussions on the subject of underage drinking with students in order to enhance health and wellbeing.

Managing Director of Red Stripe, Ricardo Nuncio, in his remarks, thanked Minister Green for his support and for the Ministry’s endorsement of the programme.

“If we want to connect with the youth, we have to do it in the right way and we have to speak their language. Speaking their language is the way to get to their hearts, to their minds, and get them to act differently,” he said.

Mr. Nuncio called on parents, as well as stakeholders in the alcohol industry to join the fight to eliminate underage drinking.

The programme is also supported by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) and the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC).

According to a National Secondary School Survey conducted in 2013, alcohol remains one of the most widely used substances among Jamaican adolescents, with 64 per cent reported having used alcohol at some point in their lives.

Forty-four per cent of students reported having used it within the past year and 33 per cent said they used it in the past month of the survey. The report indicated that one in five students who used alcohol were at risk for alcohol abuse.

The Movement originates out of a partnership with Collingwood Learning from the United Kingdom that runs a similar programme called SMASHED, which has impacted over 300,000 young persons over 11 years.