Community outreach: understanding why people drink

Gino in Tsumkwe

Sarah Sultan, 4th year Psychology student at UNAM and P.A.Y. life skills volunteer

On Friday 3, 2014, the PAY students had ventured into the Katutura community to interview members of the community about the use of alcohol. The purpose of the activity was to enhance the students interviewing skills and gain an insight to why people may or may not choose to drink alcohol. They wanted to find out how alcohol affects one’s life, regardless to whether they consume alcohol or not and how the consumption of alcohol leads to abuse.

After their interviews, the students concluded that some of the reasons people consumed alcohol was for enjoyment purposes and to forget their worries, and that the effect of this consumption sometimes led to violence. A discussion was facilitated to hear the students’ opinions concerning the community’s reasoning.


The students described those who drank out of enjoyment as social drinkers especially during gatherings. They realised that there were other ways to socialize with friends without consuming alcohol, their suggestions included, playing sports, and engaging in religious youth meetings.

A way to forget:

From the responses, the students discovered that some people drank alcohol in an attempt to try and forget their problems, and concluded that although alcohol temporarily allows one to forget about their worries, it does not completely get rid of the problem. Suggestions given by the students were to deal with problem first rather than using alcohol as a means to deal with the problem.


The students suggested that although alcohol is used as a medium that leads to violent behaviour, it is not completely to blame for all the acts of violence. They noted that some people are capable of being violent even without consuming alcohol. They highlighted that violent behaviour is also influenced by one’s inability to control their emotions. In addition, they suggested that sometimes people commit acts of violence because they are pressurized to do so by their peers. The discussion concluded with the students suggesting ways to reduce violence, their suggestions included not drinking alcohol before they are 18years old, consuming alcohol responsibly and knowing when to stop before getting drunk. Furthermore they suggested not getting involved with the wrong crowd, in order to avoid being pressurized into violent acts, and finally when provoked or angry they could try to calm down before reacting.

The students were all aware of the various factors that led to the misuse of alcohol, and showed interest and determination in starting to make a change against violence and encouraging responsible drinking.