SOUTH AFRICA – The Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (aware.org) has launched a national awareness campaign urging consumers to ‘Choose Responsibly’ in line with Government’s 21-day nationwide lockdown, a decision to proactively manage the potential impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in South Africa.
First launched as the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) in 1989, it was relaunched in 2017 as aware.org.
The organisation’s aim is to reduce alcohol related harm by creating awareness and performing ongoing research, providing effective collaboration with its partners, and implementing strong stakeholder management.
“Since the inception of aware.org, we have maintained a commitment to promote responsible alcohol consumption and we fully support Government’s efforts to protect the health of South Africans,” says Ingrid Louw, CEO of aware.org.
The organisation believes that Government’s call for consumers to adhere to a healthy lifestyle during this time of crisis will go a long way in saving lives.
This is in keeping with organisation’s core mandate of promoting responsible drinking and harm reduction through targeted programme interventions, education and awareness campaigns and ensuring compliance of all its members to its Responsible Marketing Code.
The responsible and moderate consumption of alcohol is also unambiguously supported by its members i.e. alcohol producers, distributors and retailers.
“We now have an opportunity as a nation to re-think our relationship with alcohol and ‘Choose Responsibly’ during this lockdown period and while business has slowed down, the health and safety of consumers remains the highest priority,” says Louw.
Over the past year, aware.org has rolled out programmes designed to make a sustainable difference in multiple provinces, targeting Underage Drinking (UAD), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Binge Drinking, as well as supporting and educating traders through the Responsible Traders Facilitation (RTF) Programme.
Louw insists that choosing responsibly demands that we all educate ourselves and that each of us looks at the impact we have on others in our daily choices.
“It is vital that all communities play their part, and although there is currently no trading of alcohol, as South Africans we still need to be responsible by making the choice not to binge drink, to stay at home and choosing to respect government’s COVID-19 guidelines to secure a future for our families and communities across the nation,” Louw says.