The next generation is rallying to protect our planet, its people, and their futures. To meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030, young people must be part of the solution.
A report by the World Health Organization revealed that road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death of people aged 5-29. It’s a “silent epidemic” that’s been hurting the Southeast Asia region for decades. But road crashes are not inevitable; they are highly preventable.
In Southeast Asia, road crashes claim the lives of 2,000 people each day while 22% of men’s road crash injuries and 32% of women’s road crash injuries are related to alcohol in Laos. According to the World Health Organization, 50% of Laos’ road traffic deaths involve alcohol.
The youth — which makes up about one-fifth of the population — now own the streets of Southeast Asia. This also means the youth have the power to make roads a safer place.
A key factor is tackling drinking and driving. In Southeast Asia, young adults are the most at risk for drunk driving — 6 times more likely to drink and drive than the general population.
Take back your Power to say “NO” to drink driving
The “Power of No” public awareness campaign was launched in February 2022 to take action.
By saying “No” to drink driving, young people can keep themselves safe, protect their loved ones, and improve their community’s safety and opportunities. Vientiane Rescue 1623 and RDK Group, with support from the British Embassy in Vientiane and their implementation partner the Automobile Association of Vietnam (AAV), have come together to educate young people about the harms that could be caused by drunk driving. The campaign is supported by the Asia Pacific International Spirits and Wines Alliance (APISWA) and creative agency Orès, with endorsement from the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR), the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) and the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC).
“Power of No” targets young adults 18-30 years old in six Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It brings together over 20 international partners representing government, NGO, private, and community organizations to empower young people and promote a change in behavior when it comes to drinking and driving.
For the past year, the groundbreaking “Power of No” campaign has spread awareness to 39 million young people through video clips, eye-catching infographics, a commercial video, and important facts to be better educated on drink driving.
In September 2022, the campaign launched an international photo contest with the theme “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk”.
The contest encouraged groups of friends to work together to stop drunk driving, and made contestants think critically about how they will act the next time they see a drunk friend reach for their keys. It reached over 7 million young people with over 450,000 ‘likes’, ‘comments’, and ‘shares’ during two months across Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and PartiPost. By participating, young people learned more about how alcohol works in the body, understood legal obligations and tried useful tips to avoid drink-driving.
The legacy of the “Power of No” Campaign
The voices of youth are the most powerful vehicle toward monumental changes. Through effective digital engagement, young people are not only sharing campaign video clips and images on social media but are also sharing their personal stories and viewpoints on campaign pages. Their passion, creativity, and aspiration to keep their community safe is the spotlight of the “Power of No” initiative.
The “Power of No” campaign is singular amongst drink-driving campaigns because of its large coalition of international, regional, and local partners. Greig Craft, President of AA Việt Nam and FIA Region II (Asia Pacific) say, “It is rare for organizations from so many different sectors and backgrounds to unite, but we are all deeply motivated by our shared cause: to keep youth safe on the road. This generation of young adults has enormous potential to shape their community and prevent road crashes. We are proud to participate in this campaign to inspire change within local communities across the Asia Pacific.”
“We are honored to be part of a large and broad coalition of partners with a single-minded goal to change behaviors and give young adults the agency to build a better and safer future for themselves and others,” shared APISWA Chairman, Vijay Subramaniam, who is also the Regional President, Asia, Middle East & Africa and Global Travel Retail at Bacardi. “The “Power of No” campaign demonstrates the power of partnerships and the impact shared solutions can have to support a collective global agenda to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries.”
By spreading awareness and inspiring engagement from young people, the campaign team hopes that they in turn will influence their families and friends to be responsible drivers and look out for each other for generations to come.
In 2023, the “Power of No” campaign expects to expand to other Asia Pacific countries to encourage responsible drinking and lasting behavior change in young people.
To learn more about Power of No, visit the campaign’s Facebook page or website