In further demonstration of its commitment to the responsible use of alcohol in society, 28 schools in Lagos, Nigeria, have benefitted from an innovative corporate social responsibility project by Guinness Nigeria Plc tagged SMASHED.
The SMASHED Project is a live theatre/drama performance delivered to 14 – 17 year olds (SS1 – SS3 students) in government and private schools across Lagos State by professional actors, along with follow-up interactive workshops. The initiative took into consideration the Nigerian culture by engaging young people in a safe and motivational learning environment, enabling them to understand the consequences of underage and binge drinking.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Peter Ndegwa, stated that the company’s Underage Alcohol education programme is aimed at reducing the incidence of alcohol related harm amongst young people. “Between the ages of 14 and 17, young people are most vulnerable to different societal burdens such as peer pressure and the need to fit in; this sometimes causes them to make uninformed decisions ,” Ndegwa said.
According to him, schools are an important setting for interventions aimed at shaping behavior among youths because no other community institution has as much continuous and intensive contact with young people. “And this is why Guinness Nigeria decided to implement the SMASHED programme in 28 government and private schools across Lagos state,” Mr. Ndegwa reiterated.
He added: “In every country, Diageo works with reputable local organizations to deliver the SMASHED programme as our Diageo Marketing Code restricts us from engaging with persons under the legal purchase age of 18+. As a result, Guinness Nigeria did not interface directly with any of the schools during the implementation of the SMASHED programme as we partnered with Collingwood Learning and Rue 14 Studios in Nigeria to deliver the programme.”
Sharing global success stories from the SMASHED Project, Managing Director, Collingwood Learning, United Kingdom, Mr. Chris Simes, noted that SMASHED, an award-winning theatre and education initiative, was launched in the UK more than a decade ago. “It has now been delivered in 10 countries around the world, including Mozambique. The result of the programme in other countries has been incredibly encouraging and we have received very good reviews from both students and teachers. Building on this success, the SMASHED Project was rolled out in Nigeria and reachedover 5,000 young people and teachers in classes SS1 – SS3 in 28 public and private schools across Lagos State,” Mr. Simes said.