Guinness to tackle under-age drinking in schools

Guinness Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Diageo Plc, in partnership with Rue 14 Studios, has launched the Smashed Project initiative for the first time in Nigeria aimed at tackling the issue of under-aged drinking amongst youths. Using drama and interactive educational tools, the initiative would enable pupils to understand the facts, causes, and consequences surrounding alcohol misuse and under-aged drinking. The pilot programme will involve at least 30 public and private schools in Lagos State.

While speaking at the launch, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Peter Ndegwa, stated that Smashed was an award-winning theatre and education programme that informs young people about the dangers of alcohol.

“This initiative was launched in the U.K. more than a decade ago,” he said. “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 has received very good reviews from both students and teachers stating that they understand more the consequences of under-age drinking. Building on this success, the Smashed Project is now being rolled out in Nigeria, aiming to reach at least 6,000 young people in classes SS1 – SS3 in 30 public and private schools across Lagos State.”

According to him, Diageo has pledged to reduce alcohol-related harm in society through its 10 CEO commitments. The Smashed Project is just one of many programmes Diageo sponsors across the globe.

“The Smashed Project is always delivered independently by a third party and in Nigeria this will be done by Rue 14 Studios,” Ndegwa reiterated.Rue 14 Studios is a leading Lagos-based theatre and arts company, and has been commissioned by Collingwood Learning (a leading U.K.-based educational theatre company) and funded by Diageo (Guinness Nigeria PLC) to deliver the Smashed Project, which is totally free to schools.

On her part, Founder and Artistic Director, Rue 14 Studios, Keke Hammond, commended Guinness Nigeria for delivering such a unique initiative across schools in Lagos, adding, “Rue 14 Studios is excited to be a part of the Smashed Project. Through creative education such as this, we can equip young people with the information, awareness, and confidence to make responsible choices around alcohol.”

Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Viola Graham-Douglas, said, “The Smashed Project is dedicated to breaking the culture of underage drinking around the world. Through creative education, we can equip young people with the information, awareness, and confidence to make responsible choices around alcohol.”

According to Graham-Douglas, Smashed Project engages young people in a unique way, allowing them to explore the causes and consequences of underage drinking in a safe and motivational learning environment. This will involve the use of emotive theatre, interactive workshops, and interactive teaching resources all backed up with robust evaluation, with fantastic results, adding, “The programme does not include any reference to Diageo or any Diageo brand positioning materials or adverts in the schools visited.”

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