Guinness Nigeria Plc said it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to take its responsible drinking campaign to every part of the country.
A statement by the company’s Corporate Communications Manager, Mr Olayinka Edmond, on Sunday in Abuja said the MoU signed at NYSC Headquarters was entitled “DrinkIQ Campaign’’.
At the ceremony, Managing Director of Guinness, Mr Peter Ndegwa, said that the company was committed to creating awareness about responsible drinking of alcohol in Nigeria.
Ndegwa, represented by Mr Sesan Sobowale, the company’s Corporate Relations Director, added that the organisation was also committed to promoting enjoyment in drinking of alcoholic brand as part of healthy life style in Nigeria.
He said that the company appreciated that alcohol was not an ordinary commodity, adding that alcohol consumed moderately and responsibly by adults who chose to drink could be part of a balanced lifestyle.
According to him, Guinness is also aware that misuse of alcohol can cause serious problems for individuals, communities and the society.
“This is why we have used a variety of programmes to promote a culture in which adults who chose to drink can do so responsibly.
“We have worked in partnership with government, individuals, NGOs and other companies to tackle alcohol misuse, including excessive drinking, drinking while driving and under-age drinking.
“We have also taken measures to ensure that our products are advertised and marketed responsibly, that is why we will not issue an advert without clearly stating that it is not for people under 18,’’ he said.
Ndegwa said that “Drink IQ’’ was one of the training platforms that Guinness and the world’s largest drink company, Diagio, had used as leverage on responsible drinking agenda.
He said that the programme was a training aimed at raising public awareness about better understanding of the drinking choices, including the decision not to drink, when and how much to drink.
He said that efforts to reduce the misuse of alcohol were most effective when government, civil society, individuals and families as well as industry worked together.
According to the managing director, the initiative is built around providing consumers with information, promoting rigorous company and industry standard for responsible marketing, supporting effective programmes and partnership.
“This is to promote alcohol education and to tackle misuse by advocating effective evidence-based policy.
“In line with our commitment to creating awareness about responsible drinking, Guinness Nigeria will be partnering NYSC to deliver Drink IQ training sessions, targeted at corps members and ultimately, the general public.
“Our intent is to start with train-the-trainers programme where these trainers will in turn train other people who will be advocates in their places of primary assignments.
“Guinness will begin this training with the officials of NYSC drawn from 36 states of the federation who will in turn facilitate these sessions in orientation camps across the country,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Director-General of NYSC, Brig-Gen. Sule Kazaure, said that the society had been negatively affected by the effects of irresponsible drinking.
Kazaure, who was represented by Mrs Rhoda Kwaki, Director, Community Development Service and Special Projects, said that the partnership was part of the programme designed by Guinness to reshape the society.
He said that the Drink IQ campaign was a give-back to the society initiated by Guinness to be implemented by NYSC to impart positively on the corps members, staff and the society.
According to him, men and women, who drank to stupor have lost their lives to accidents, destroyed their homes, lost their jobs as well as developed major killer diseases like liver cirrhosis.
“The NYSC scheme in the past 43 years has not relented on its effort in ensuring that its mandate is vigorously pursued thereby making meaningful impact on the lives of its host communities.
“It is noteworthy to mention that through partnering national and international organisations, non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations, the scheme has facilitated the realisation of set goals and objectives of its partners.
“It is against this backdrop that the goal of this partnership is on Drink IQ (meaning responsible drinking).
“What we have sown today will blossom into an enduring and sustainable entity for the benefit of our communities and environs,’’ he said.
Kazaure commended the initiative and expressed optimism that the programme would be seen in the right perspective by every community.