Thursday, October 21, 2010

Alcohol Awareness Week

Some of the planning committee with the Alcohol Awareness Week sign

by Kara

One of the coolest things I've been a part of in Mongolia...

Last week was Alcohol Awareness Week in Mongolia. This is an initiative that was started by Peace Corps Volunteers this year. It was started to raise awareness about the effects and consequences that alcohol use has on people's lives and on their community as a whole. Mongolia is fortunate to have almost no problems with drugs other than tobacco and alcohol; "hard" drugs are virtually non-existent. However, alcohol abuse is rampant here. We just wanted to take a week to get people thinking about the role alcohol plays in their life, in their family, and in their community.

PCVs in towns across the country planned events. In our town my sitemate Sarah led the effort, but all of the volunteers were involved. My counterparts (coworkers) got especially involved which was really awesome. Altogether the week was planned by PCVs, Government officials, the Police Department, the Children’s Center, and the Health Department. The week’s activities included (but were not limited to) a poster and essay contest for children, lessons about alcohol use from the Health Department at all of the schools, and a survey about alcohol for students (my counterparts and I did that!). To publicize the week’s events the planning committee was interviewed by the local TV station!

The most exciting part of the week was the rally on Friday. This video that Mark made explains it best:

One of the posters that was entered into the poster contest. It's even 3D!

Click on this to see a bigger version - it shows ALL the students who attended the rally!

A class with the poster they made. They even made matching badges for the event. (The little yellow circles on their shirts.)

Bonus points were awarded for Japanimation style posters. (Not really)

The parade!

More signs

"Архи" (the word on the sign) means alcohol

For Your Information: Statistics About Alcohol Use in Mongolia*

  • There is one store selling alcohol for every 273 people in Mongolia.
  • 22% scored positive on AUDIT (8% F; 39% M) meaning they drink at a hazardous level.
  • 13.6% are alcohol dependent (5% F; 22% M) based on the Composite Informational Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
  • 7.7% of males age 15-19 drink more than 60 grams of alcohol a day
  • 18.6% have been in serious fights with injuries due to alcohol
  • 15% have been arrested due to alcohol
  • 20% regularly spend money on alcohol that they need for food and other essentials
  • 10% have significant marital problems due to alcohol consumption
  • The average male spends more than 32,000 tugrugs a month on alcohol (that's about 30% of a minimum wage salary or 16% of my salary which I think is an average salary)
  • 18.6% will be admitted to the hospital due to alcohol or alcohol related injuries.
Drinkers are:
  • Twice as likely to have depression
  • Twice as likely to have excessive stress
  • Three times as likely to have a heart attack
  • Four times as likely to have a serious head injury
  • Five times as likely to have cirrhosis of the liver
*All statistics were taken from the Epidemiological Study on the Prevalence of Alcohol Consumption, Alcohol Drinking Patterns, and Alcohol Related Harms in Mongolia published by the Mongolian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, 2006.

1 comment:

brad said...

great documentary -- thanks mark and kara!