Straight Talk Foundation (STF) steps up the game on advocating for the regulation of illicit Alcohol among the youth. Red Card campaign has strives to register success in teacher training, peer education, engagement with district and national level advocacy and provision of information on the dangers of underage alcohol consumption.
Underage alcohol consumption exposes one to reckless antisocial behavior like drug abuse, having multiple sex partners that drive to easy spread of diseases.
This year, STF aims at pursuing high national level advocacy on the enactment of the use of national Identity cards to minimize the sale of alcohol to minors, banning of alcohol sachets, regulation of illicit alcohol, sensitization of opinion leaders about liquor regulations so as to improve them in control of non-compliance.
Susan Ajok, Executive Director STF confirms that a shared responsibility against the issue of underage drinking, with individuals, families, governments, law enforcers, educators and other partners can address alcohol abuse by young people.
A recent pilot study conducted by STF was carried out in November 2016 in Gulu, Kabale, Soroti and Kampala targeting 100 children. According to Richard Imarit, Research and Evaluation Manager STF, it reported that 50% had consumed illicit alcohol that include kasese, Eguli, Waraji and 17% of them were underage consumers. Of these, 25% were male and 9% were female.
As a matter of fact, some of the facilitating factors for underage drinking included easy accessibility, cheap cost, mobility of the packaging(it’s easy to move with)preference and taste.
However this is highly attributed to breakdown of family structures. “We need to look out for ways to build social psychological competencies of the youth”, Ajok confirms.
Results from the study had various impacts on different subjects for instance deepens their poverty levels, incites gender based violence where 5 in 10 women are beaters, sexual based violence and peer pressure
As a way forward to curb down on underage drinking, Ajok advised, “Parents ought to administer right norms at home. Through an integrated approach, illicit alcohol can be regulated by working with a cross section of leaders, and inspection of property should be prioritized at school with periodic checks to eliminate alcohol smuggle,” Ajok advised.
Also focus on behavior change by learning from different experiences and testimonies of the former victims.
Straight Talk Foundation organized the 26th media café at their premises in Kamwokya last Wednesday.