In 1995, Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) together with the Plantation Housing and Social Welfare Trust now known as the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) initiated a pilot project to reduce the alcohol related harm in the plantation sector.
Subsequently interventions were extended to an additional nine estates with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) and the Plantation Development Project of the Ministry of Plantation Industries.
After eighteen months of interventions, it was found that the aggregate consumption of alcohol had reduced with hardly any youth getting initiated to consume alcohol. Quitting of alcohol use by alcohol users and reduction in the frequency and the quantity consumed also contributed to this overall reduction.
As a result the demand for alcohol reduced causing the selling points to reduce drastically. There was a marked difference in the incidents of violence, in the labour turnout especially during festivals, in the status of women and in the well being of children.
Interventions to reduce alcohol in the estate sector by ADIC has been successful in 10 estates in Sri Lanka. Based on the success of Phase I, ADIC and PHDT are convinced that the Phase II of the Plantation Development Project (PDP) funded by both Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank of International Corporation (JBIC) should establish a sustainable infrastructure which would enable a wider outreach within the estate sector.
According to the past experience, ADIC has successfully completed the Alcohol Prevention Programmes in 100 estates under the Plantation Development Project of the Ministry of plantation industries during 2007/2009.
Now ADIC is implementing intensive and distant mood follow up programmes in Plantation sector.
Success story and methods
Background: Alcohol is a key issue that hinders development in the plantation sector. Even if they work hard to earn an income, their financials suffer as they spend two thirds of their salary on alcohol. Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) conducted an alcohol demand reduction programme in NuwaraEliya, Hatton, Badulla, Kaluthara and Galle plantation sectors from 2007 to date.
Objective: To reduce alcohol consumption in plantation sectors.
Methods: Activities were developed pertaining to the target group. Children started a money till to collect money that their parents would have otherwise used on alcohol. They also made budgets of their parents’ earnings and highlighted the amount spent on alcohol each month. Wives spoke to their husbands about the amount of money they spent on keeping the alcohol sellers’ families happy as opposed to what they were spending on their own families. Youngsters displaying banners had spread the message throughout the estate. Consumers were motivated to calculate their individual expenditure as well as total expenditure on alcohol from the entire estate. This made them realize that the portion they spent on alcohol individually and as a community were large and this money could have otherwise be spent to benefit their families. ADIC used community participation method during all activities. Discussions were held in places where the community gathered such as muster sheds, playgrounds and at tea breaks. The programme also developed the capacities of the health staff to conduct follow up activities.
Results: A great majority (90%) realized that their alcohol expenditure was vast and one method that the industry collected their earnings. Approximately half (45% ) users admitted that it was a waste, 25% began using that expenditure to benefit their homes and 5% bought household items on instalment basis. There was evidence on increased happiness among users’ families and reduced stress due to loans.
Conclusion and recommendations: The programme was a success as users were made to realize the real harm of alcohol on their economies and how they can use that money to benefit their families. Specialized strategies must be used based on the characteristics of the communities of users in alcohol use reduction programes.