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“If alcohol isn’t your friend, maybe church is”: Youth share their sentiments on #TunyweLess

After months of the TunyweLess campaigning by the government of Rwanda, youth around Kigali share their real sentiments on the campaign and its aim.

In June, the Rwanda Biomedical Centre’s (RBC) 2022 population-based national survey on the prevalence of NCD risk factors in Rwanda released new findings showing that alcohol consumption in the country has increased from 41% in 2013 to 48% in 2022. That’s right; Rwanda’s youth were saying cheers a bit too often.

Reacting to this, in July 2023 the Ministry of Health launched the TunyweLess campaign, their next-gen move to get the Rwandan youth to tap into their YOLO vibes but with a twist—You Only Live Once, so maybe skip that extra shot?

Youth share how they feel about the #TunyweLess campaign

The campaign aimed at our youth, spreading its wings from social media and more, urging young Rwandans to dial down on the booze or maybe give it a pass.

Alcohol has been a topic of banter, concern, and, at times, contemplation. But for the youth of Kigali, the “drink or not to drink” dilemma has taken a new twist with the government’s #TunyweLess campaign. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

What’s the real chatter? What’s the word on the street? We caught up with a few to get some real sentiments:

Innocent Gasingwa, 28, feels that social media glamorizes alcohol and drugs. He says, “It [social media] can influence a person. Those are some things that can lead youth to be drawn to alcohol and drugs.”

It is not just about social media it is also about mental health and poverty. “Mental health issues and poverty also lead people to turn to alcohol. It is where the “Nta myaka ijana” saying came from. They are all desperate and hopeless,” he said.

Mutesa Rosine a young dynamic girl hits us with the good stuff, “I feel like alcohol is not that bad, what’s really bad is excessive drinking.”

Self control and moderation is key

To her: Drinking? Sure. Overdoing it? Nah. And while some might drink on a whim, Mutesa who only drinks on a few occasions feels it’s all about not losing control. She says, “TunyweLess is drinking less without losing control.”

Enoch Nsanzuwera, 20, but with the wisdom of a 40-year-old wine (pun intended), doesn’t touch the stuff. Why? Bad vibes. But he’s on board with more awareness, especially with evidence showcasing alcohol’s harm. Enoch thinks Youth Volunteers who can create awareness are the real MVPs here.

Now, Muvunyi Celestin takes his stand. He tells us, “If you can drink one or two and control yourself, cheers! But, if booze nudges you to plan a bank heist, maybe it’s a sign to…not drink? If alcohol isn’t your friend, maybe church is.”

He is quite unaware of what the TunyweLess campaign is all about as he feels it is sharing alcohol with your gang but he does also share the spirit behind the campaign. It is all about moderation and self-control.

Drink responsibly or don’t drink at all. It’s your choice.

Drink Responsibly

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