About FASfacts

FACTS – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a characteristic pattern of physical and mental birth deficiencies, caused by alcohol consumption by the pregnant mother.

1. The continued focus of research based on communities such as Wellington in the Western Cape Province, and De Aar and Upington in the Northern Cape Province, once again underscored the enormity of the FAS problem in South Africa. The severity of the potential crisis facing the country is best illustrated by the results from the De Aar project that show a prevalence of FAS in the town of 122 per 1 000 school-entry children, thus 12,2%. This is officially the highest frequency yet reported in one population anywhere in the world.

[FARR : Chairman’s Report for the year ended 31 March 2006, website www.farr-sa.co.za]

In addition, the prevalence rate of Fetal Alcohol Exposure is always far higher than the FAS rate. (In the above-mentioned areas between 3 – 5 times higher.) As a result, an unknown number of children are prenatally damaged due to their mother’s alcohol consumption.

2. The prevalence of FAS in countries such as America varies from 0,1 – 0,3%.

“Drinking during pregnancy is linked with disaster – personal disaster for the ‘bright-eyed ones,’ disaster for their families and their hope for their young, and disaster for . . . society as we struggle to pay the huge price of this destruction.”

- Prof. Ann Streissguth, Ph.D.

3. FAS is the largest cause of mental retardation in most industrial nations, which directly leads to the scourge of CRIME, HIV/AIDS & SUBSTANCE ABUSE.

4. FAS is more than a disability – it's a social disorder that causes many of the expensive problems which plague governments, and all of us. On both a financial and personal level, we are all affected by the secondary disabilities and consequences of FAS: learning disabilities, early school drop-out, juvenile delinquency, poverty, chronic unemployment, sexual acting-out (promiscuity, teenage and unwanted pregnancies, prostitution, sexual assault, child-molesting, rape), AIDS, mental illness, homelessness, violence, crimes against property, theft, murder, gangsterism, alcoholism, drug smuggling, drug addiction and substance abuse.


6. There is no "inclusiveness" for people with FAS. In general, our society has very little compassion for those thousands of individuals whose damaged brains lead them to crime, homelessness and addiction. Instead, we assume that they have chosen to behave as they do. Few people realize that the severely acting-out teenager, the addicted prostitute, the homeless beggar, or the man charged with killing his girlfriend's baby may all behave as they do as the result of brain damage caused by their mothers' drinking during pregnancy.

7. Prevention programs and treatment programs for alcoholic women could dramatically reduce the incidence of FAS. Early diagnosis and new techniques of therapy, medical treatment, education and residential facilities, could allow people with FAS to lead productive lives, and save our nation millions of rands that could be diverted for other disabilities.

8. Mental / neurological damage caused is irreversible and cannot be restored.

9. The FAS-child/adult could never exercise a choice as to whether he or she would consume alcohol or not in the mother’s womb. This decision was taken solely by the mother on his or her behalf.

10. Research into FAS is one of 4 priority areas of the National Department of Health, as well as the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of the Witwatersrand.

FASfacts’ Model to Convey the FAS Message:

Experiential Learning

After looking into different models, FASfacts decided to make use of Experiential Learning to convey the FAS-message on a local and national basis to the following groups in communities:

  • Grade 6 & 7 learners : 4 Modules of 1¼  hour each
  • Grade 10 & 11 learners : 1 hour Module
  • Working youth, adults & parents on farms, and in rural and urban communities, as well as shebeen owners
  • FAS-raps & FAS-PSA’s on community radio stations
  • In order to reach these communities we establish satellite operational offices

Activity to demonstrate the restrictions and limitations that a FAS-child or FAS-adult may experience in his life.
He wants to do certain things, but he cannot, or he finds it extremely difficult to do so.
Alcohol during pregnancy ‘binds’ the child.  Instruction of facilitator : “Turn around!”.

In order to reach these communities we establish satellite operational offices.

Activity to demonstrate the restrictions and limitations that a FAS-child or FAS-adult may experience in his life. He wants to do certain things, but he cannot, or he finds it extremely difficult to do so. Alcohol during pregnancy ‘binds’ the child. Instruction of facilitator : “Scratch your head with your right hand”.

All FASfacts’ programmes are aimed at achieving:

Girls making the decision not to drink any alcohol when they will be pregnant, or when they plan to become pregnant.  Adult women making the decision not to drink any alcohol when they plan to become pregnant, and during their pregnancies.

Boys, at a very young age, making the decision to assist their wives /girl friends not to drink any alcohol during their pregnancies.  Adult men must make the decision to assist their wives/girlfriends not to drink any alcohol when they plan to have a baby, and while she is expecting their child.  An extremely effective method for the men is to personally abstain from alcohol themselves during their girlfriends’/wives’ pregnancies.

The earlier and more often these children and adults make these very important and positive choices in their lives, the better chance there will be that they actually will abstain from alcohol during their pregnancies, which will lead to a definite decrease in the FAS-rate.


FASfacts is a NGO, which aims to educate the general public to the effect of alcohol consumption during pregnancy on the unborn baby, as well as the influence that people with FAS have on each individual in particular and the broader community in general. The above-mentioned strategy should lead to the decrease of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, which on its part will lead to a decrease in the birth of children with FAS.

In its strategy FASfacts will accentuate the following modus operandi and projects:

1. A FAS-prevention campaign in schools making use of Experiential Learning (grades 6 & 7) to convey the FAS-message and some Life Skills to learners. Posters, working sheets, wristbands, RAP-songs, T-shirts, caps, etc. form part of the training program.

2. A FAS-prevention campaign for adults making use of Experiential Learning to convey the FAS-message and some Life Skills. Posters, working sheets, wristbands, RAP-songs, T-shirts, caps, etc. form part of the training program.

3. Advertising campaigns by posting posters in the relevant languages at strategic places.

4. Regular placing of articles and advertisements in daily newspapers, magazines and any other relevant information sheets of companies, factories, farms, communities, etc.

5. Regular radio talks which include Public Service Announcements.

6. Television coverage.

7. Industrial theatre, as well as theatre shows will also be utilized as a vehicle to spread the FAS- message.

8. Given the fact that FAS is not only a health issue, but also a moral issue, churches, interalia the pulpit, ministers, pastors, deacons, elders, spiritual workers, etc. will be mobilized to convey the FAS-message.

9. Regular follow-up actions will take place in all cases.

10. The implementation of an evaluative, participatory research model to ascertain high quality, standards and effectiveness of the FAS-prevention campaign.

11. Participating in the liquor licensing policy.

12. Utilizing the electronic media, especially the computer and internet in the awareness campaign.

13. Project – "Adopt a Pregnant Woman". One or more families should take care of a pregnant woman who is an alcoholic. Efforts should be made to support and rehabilitate her. This process should preferably take place in a rehabilitation centre. It is expected from the family who adopts such a woman to also cater for the needs of her family.

14. Focus on the rehabilitation of women in general that are alcoholics.

15. The production of a SA film, staging a SA cast, on FAS and highlighting the negative effects thereof on every person in the country.

16. The meaningful addressing of environmental factors like poverty and unemployment in a responsible way that contributes to the condition of FAS in S.A.

17. In all of its actions, FASfacts will constantly strive towards the optimal co-operation with other relevant role-players in the field of FAS within S.A. or abroad.

18. Satellite operational offices to extend FASfacts’ capacity to all regions in South Africa. FASfacts already established an office in Paarl with two program facilitators. FASfacts is currently in the process of establishing a regional office in Upington, which will be the main basis for the Northern Cape.

19. Conveying information about FASfacts and FAS via internet: website – www.fasfacts.org.za.


FASfacts currently operates in the Western Cape and is in the process to establish an office in Upington in the Northern Cape. The other provinces will follow in order of priority. The aim of FASfacts is to be operational on a national level.


A board of 7 directors has been appointed.

The board includes the following members :

1. CHAIRPERSON : Mrs Franci Lemboe : Former Director Relief & Poverty Alleviation, BADISA, Western, Northern and Eastern Cape
2. Mr Nosey Pieterse : Chairman Black Association of Wine & Spirits Industry (BAWSI)
3. Mr Johan Kriegler : Farmer and chairperson Hex Valley Table Grape Association
4. Rev Jan Ungerer : Minister Dutch Reformed Church, Worcester
5. Mrs Karin Pieterse : Member Agricultural Manufacturing Workers Association (AMWA) Breërivier 
6. Mrs Nelly Fanie : Teacher Marcus Mbetha Secure Care School, Upington, Northern Cape
7. Mr Albertus de Koker : Chairperson Farm Workers Board of Co-ordinators, Western Cape


  • SECTION 18A COMPANY : Reg No 930 000 815


  • Jacobs & Partners : Chartered Accountants of Worcester serve as auditor.
  • Hannes Esterhuyse Commercial & Financial Accountants of Worcester serves as accountant.


Detailed reports giving a breakdown of income and expenditure are tabled with donors as frequently as agreed, as well as an audited annual financial report.

How can YOU become part of the FAS prevention campaign?

Strengthen FASfacts abilities by bringing us in contact with possible donors to this most needed FAS prevention campaign.

Banking details:  FASfacts, ABSA,  Cheque Acc 405-648-4460, Branch Code 632-005.

Thank you that you ’Speak on behalf of those that cannot themselves’.


CEO – Francois Grobbelaar
+27 (0) 23 342 7000 t
+27 (0) 23 342 7001 f