Cause Index



The Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR) was established as a Section 21 Non-governmental
Organization in 1997 (Registration Number: 1997/00190/08). This NGO has a staff establishment of 15
staff members; various people on short fixed term contracts and an active Board of Directors. The main focal
points of FARR are substance abuse, with a focus on alcohol and specifically Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
Disorders (FASD), including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

SA has the highest reported FASD rates in the world, ranging from 88 to 122/1000 in high risk areas. The
next highest rate in the world is in certain high-risk communities in the USA (8/1000). FASD is caused by
maternal alcohol use during pregnancy and causes permanent brain and other organ damage in the unborn
child. A person with FAS has an average IQ of 65 -75 (Norm: 100).


FARR projects consist of the following components:
• Awareness and prevention;
• Diagnosis, management and research;
• Training Academy (HWSeta Accredited);
• FARRCare Wellness Programme (Service provider to Department of Labour).

It is at present the only organization in South Africa with the expertise to conduct FAS(D)
prevalence studies and to diagnose FAS.


FARR at present has 4 FAS Prevention, Intervention, Management and Research Projects in SA. More than 50 scientific articles based on FARR’s work have been published in national and international peer review magazines such as the SA Medical Journal, American Journal for Human Biology, American Journal for Alcoholism, etc.

• FARR/Joan Wertheim Community Centre, De Aar, Northern Cape Province
(Highest reported FAS rate in the world: 122/1000 or 12%)

FARR has been involved in this community since 2002. Through very intensive community awareness, prevention and management programmes the FASD rate has dropped with approximately 30% (data is currently being analyzed and will be published soon). It is the first recorded reduction in a community FASD rate in the world. Women and children in need, with or without FASD, are managed at this community centre.

Projects at the FARR/Joan Wertheim Centre include: Community prevention and awareness programmes; Feeding scheme, Support group to women; Non-drinking programme for pregnant women, Stimulation group for children < 6years; Play Therapy; Door-bed-gardens; Street children rehabilitation; FAS diagnosis and management; Therapy services involving Physiotherapist, Occupational therapist, Speech therapist, Music Therapy, etc. The project is fully funded by FirstRand Foundation and supported in kind by EmpowaGrinacker and the Department of Health.

• Upington Centre
(Prevalence rate: 86/1000 or 8,6%)

FARR has been involved in this community since 2003. The focus of the Upington project is on FAS awareness, prevention, diagnosis and management. Mothers and children, with or without FAS, are managed at the centre, with services ranging from diagnostic services, neurodevelopmental assessment, maternal support, therapy sessions, e.g. speech therapy and various community outreach initiatives.

• Witzenberg District (Ceres area), Western Cape Province

Phase one of this project was done in partnership with the Medical Research Council. A model ‘Do you have 3 minutes’ was developed to support pregnant women attending antenatal services to stop using alcohol and other substances during pregnancy. This model is being included in a pilot project conducted by Department of Health (WCP). Phase 2 of the project consisted of a FASD prevalence study (data will be published soon). Phase 3 is currently being done in partnership with the Department of Health, Winelands Municipality and the Department of Agriculture and focuses on awareness and prevention amongst farm workers, the project is funded until the end of 2010.

• Aurora, West Coast, Western Cape Province

The focus of this project is on awareness and prevention and a FASD Prevalence study. The project is funded and conducted in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the Whiskey Live Festival.

• Karatara area, Eden District, Western Cape Province

The focus of this project is on awareness and prevention. The project is funded by the Department of Agriculture.

• Ashton Centre, Western Cape Province

This centre is fully equipped, but still not in operation due to a lack of funding. FARR is planning to offer similar programmes as in De Aar in this centre.


The FARR Training Academy is accredited by the HWSETA. We are offering SAQA aligned training courses/workshops focusing on substance abuse, including alcohol and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to the following target groups:
• Community members, employees & employers, parents and/or foster parents;
• Undergraduate students in medicine and supporting services;
• Professional service providers, e.g. registered nurses, social workers, educators;
• Specialist service providers, e.g. primary health care nurses, social workers responsible for placement of children; educators of children with special needs;
• Medical specialist via WITS.