The Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in collaboration with the Cross River State Ministry of Quality Education launched the SMASHED Project in Calabar on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021.
The SMASHED Project is an initiative of Collingwood Learning UK, aimed at breaking the culture of underage drinking and reducing alcohol-related harm among underage persons in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, H.E. Ben Ayade, represented by the Deputy Governor, H.E. Prof. Ivara Esu, commended the Beer Sectoral Group for its efforts in tackling the issue of underage drinking through such a credible and impactful platform.
“We are pleased to collaborate with the BSG on the SMASHED Project in Cross River State, as a public-private sector partnership on social responsibility. Partnerships of this nature are crucial, as the government and private sector have a better chance of achieving their shared objectives when they work together.
“There is no gainsaying that the private sector comes with significant insights. In this case, the BSG has extensive experience in social advocacy against harmful consumption of alcohol, such as the SMASHED Project and the BSG’s campaign against drink drinking, to mention a few. The Government of Cross River state is keen to build on such industry insights and have them applied for the benefits of the good people of our state”, he said.
The Deputy Governor went on to thank BSG for creating an avenue for positive social impact others organizations can emulate, citing the initiative as a highly effective means to influence the decision-making in teenagers with regards to underage drinking.
In his address, the Chairman of Beer Sectoral Group, Jordi Borrut Bel stated that part of the initiative’s focus is to help teenagers build confidence in the face of peer pressure as it is considered one of the causes of underage drinking globally.
“The SMASHED Project is a global campaign against underage drinking, aimed at educating and enlightening adolescents on the dangers of underage drinking and ways to prevent and avoid it. With this Project, parents are also engaged as this enables them to understand the vulnerability of the teenage years and how to sensitize their children on the dangers of underage drinking.
“This is in addition to being encouraged to help preclude their underage children from consuming alcohol by being better role models and talking to them about how to overcome peer pressure during their formative years”, he stated.
Mr. Borrut Bel went on to reiterate BSG’s commitment to campaigning against the harmful use of alcohol, saying that its members will continue to enlighten the public on the inimical effects of abuse.
“The campaign against underage drinking is only a part of a broader aspect of the discourse on the harmful use of alcohol, which the BSG and its members continue to advocate against. The key notion here is that the dangers associated with alcohol consumption arise from the harmful use of alcohol”, he added.
Conceived in 2004, the SMASHED Project has engaged over 1 million students internationally and has been delivered in 25 countries around the world. In Africa, SMASHED has been delivered in Cameroun, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.
The SMASHED Project was introduced in Nigeria in 2018 and has so far been delivered in Lagos, Abuja FCT, Ogun, Edo, Enugu, Anambra, and Delta states, covering over 100 different localities, both urban and rural. The initiative has reached about 35,000 students in over 170 public and private schools and has enjoyed the immense cooperation of the State Ministries of Education, principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and students.
The BSG plans to continue to deliver SMASHED on an annual basis, with a focus on reaching a minimum of 12,000 students across 60 schools in 3 states in 2021 alone (referring to Cross River, Delta and Oyo states).
Other social responsibility initiatives of the Beer Sectoral Group include its annual Don’t Drink & Drive Campaign and the donation of breathalyzers to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). The BSG’s Don’t Drink & Drive campaign has been delivered in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt and has in all cases included motor park rallies and billboard campaigns, educating on the dangers of drink-driving.
In addition to this, the BSG maintains an active social media presence, through which it promotes public enlightenment messaging on responsible consumption.
The BSG is a section of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria comprising leading beer manufacturers in Nigeria. Its membership currently consists of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Guinness Nigeria Plc, and International Breweries Plc.