Alcohol abuse is widely acknowledged to be a huge problem in Namibia and many organisations are working towards finding solutions to this problem.
GR&AP is currently focusing on the problem of underage drinking due to its legal implications and the fact that it appears to be extremely common in Namibia. A Ministry of Health study on substance use amongst Namibians found that 53.5% of youths aged 13-30 use alcohol. Children are also beginning to drink at earlier and earlier ages. A 2006 UNICEF study found that, in a focus group of 10-14 year olds, one in ten had already used alcohol. The average age for starting drinking was age 10. Perhaps most worrisome of all, underage drinking appears to be on the rise. In 1992, only 19.8% of 13-16 year olds had experimented with alcohol. By 1998, that number had risen to 50%.
GR&AP has developed three publications about underage drinking:
Pamphlet on preventing underage drinking
In 2008, GR&AP partnered with the Self-regulating Alcohol Forum and Namibian Breweries to produce a short information booklet on Preventing underage drinking: A guide to individual and community action. The pamphlet provides information about the social problems associated with underage drinking and the impact on health; gives information about what the law says about underage drinking; and suggests ideas for community action if the public is aware that underage drinking is a problem in their community.
Designed in a colourful and simple format, the pamphlet fills an important information gap in Namibia. Many people contact the Legal Assistance Centre to ask for information about how to address underage drinking and this pamphlet provides answers to this question.The comic also includes contact information for organisations working in the field of alcohol abuse such as Alcoholics Anonymous and the Coalition of Responsible Drinking.
The pamphlet has been reprinted twice through funding from the Coalition of Responsible Drinking and the Self-regulating Alcohol Forum. GR&AP would like to thank these organisations for their support.
Comic on preventing underage drinking
This comic tells the story of a mother who finds out that her teenage child is slipping out of the house in the evenings to drink at a local shebeen. The mother confronts the shebeen owner and they realise that they both have responsibilties in addressing this problem. The mother discusses why underage drinking is a problem with her daughter to make sure that her daughter understands why her behavour is a problem and the shebeen owner agrees to be more vigilant in checking the identification of the people buying alcohol at his bar. Through this story, the comic aims to suggest positive ways to address the problem of underage drinking. The comic also includes contact information for organisations working in the field of alcohol abuse such as Alcoholics Anonymous and the Coalition of Responsible Drinking.
Monograph on preventing underage drinking
GR&AP has also published research and recommendations on the law in respect to underage drinking in the report Alcohol and Youths. The proposed law reforms are intended for inculsion in the forthcoming Child Care and Protection Act.
GR&AP also discusses the problem of underage drinking in workshops and trainings. GR&AP hopes to conduct further work in this area in the future.