Minutes of the FARR AGM: 1 October 2021

Virtual Webinar
10h00 – 11h30
Master of Ceremony: Ms Charnine Sobey, FARR Training Academy Coordinator

1. Registration
A total of 80 delegates registered online via a webinar registration process (See the attached register).

The Master of Ceremony was Ms Charnine Sobey, FARR Training Academy Coordinator, who welcomed all the delegates.

2. Introduction of New Chairman
Prof Denis Viljoen, FARR’s Chairman Emeritus, introduced the newly elected Chairman, Mr Adrian Botha. This was ratified at the Board of Directors Meeting which was held in May 2021. We are looking forward to working with Mr Botha and appreciate his willingness to accept this new appointment.

3. The Chairman’s Perspective
Mr Adrian Botha, the new FARR Chairman, thanked Prof Viljoen for his foresight in establishing FARR, in 1997, and providing the necessary research and support to give South African children a chance to grow and prosper without the harmful drawbacks of FASD. He mentioned that Prof Viljoen’s tireless efforts over the years have been an inspiration to all. He welcomed the delegates on behalf of FARR and thanked the Board of Directors for so generously giving of their time in the interests of FARR. He also introduced and welcomed the newly appointed Board Member, Dr Nathaniel (Nat) Khaole.

Mr Botha paid tribute to the members we have sadly lost this year. Our Board Member, Prof Tania Douglas who gave so much to the Board, Mr Tumi Mantsiwa, Community Worker in Jacobsdal, and Ms Grace Humphreys, Project Coordinator in Upington. He congratulated and thanked the FARR staff for their resilience and for being on par with their goals and targets, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. He applauded the editorial team for the excellent 2020-2021 Annual Report/Newsletter. This publication covers multiple projects and activities of the organisation. With this he launched the 2019-2020 Annual Report/Newsletter. After the AGM all the delegates were send a digital copy via email. All our funders and other stakeholders will also receive copies.

4. #UthandoNethemba#LoveHope
This hashtag was launched during the commemoration of the 2021 International FASD Day (9 September 2021) and resulted in numerous postings on FARR’s Facebook page, Instagram by FARR and with contributions from our stakeholders. A brief, informative video was showed which beautifully illustrated the work FARR did in terms of raising awareness in various communities in the Free State, Western-, Eastern and Northern Cape Provinces.
FARR’s can now be reached, and information can by obtained by linking into any of the following:

  • info@farrsa.org.za
  • www.farrsa.org.za
  • Facebook: @ FARR (Foundation for Alcohol Related Research)
  • INSTAGRAM @farr.sa
  • #FASDUthandoNethemba and #FASDLoveHope

5. Ms Angelique Rossouw (Financial Manager): Financial Report
Ms Rossouw outline FARR’s income, expenditure and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in her presentation. She explained how Alert Levels 3 – 5 Lockdown affected FARR, since we had to make provision for not being allowed to travel between provinces, not being able to have training sessions with bigger groups of participants, developing and offering on-line training and not being able to fly to far off project sites.

Despite of these challenges FARR could end off the financial year in a healthy financial state, but we are also intensely aware of the effects of the current economic recession and the impact on our funders which will have an expected impact on our funding scenario in the 2021 – 2022 financial year.

6. Dr Leana Olivier (CEO): Together Towards Tomorrow
The FARR CEO used FARR’s theme for the 2020 Newsletter/Annual Report and the theme for the 2021 – 2022 financial year: Together Towards Tomorrow as the title for her presentation.

She paid tribute to all FARR’s Funders, FARR Staff Members, Clients and Stakeholders in thanking them for their dedication and commitment during the past financial year, which she referred to as “a horrendous year”. Despite numerous, totally unexpected challenges, and
thanks to many innovative new approaches FARR managed to complete three massive Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevalence Studies in the Northern Cape (Britstown), Eastern Cape Province (Kirkwood and Graaff Reinet) and successfully complete 98% of our objectives. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Training Academy had to postpone some of their courses, but they are fast busy catching up on this.

The completion of the 3 FASD Prevalence Studies in one year was a tremendous achievement as FARR usually takes 2 years to complete one study. Since the schools were closed during the time the learners had to undergo their Neurodevelopmental Assessments and the parents had to be interviewed and counselled, the Project Staff had to find these clients in the various communities and areas where they moved to during the lockdown times. This was a mammoth task. These clients also had to be tested or interviewed at the FARR centres and not the schools (as per the initial plan and protocol). Despite of this only 6 clients out of a total of close to 4 000 clients could not be found due to reasons such as death or moving out of the area. Very high FASD Prevalence Rates were reported and will soon be published in a journal article. (The World Health Organization estimates the average global FASD rate to be 1,5% and the South African rate is estimated to be 6%.)

Dr Olivier concluded her presentation with a video recording of an interview she had with an 18-year-old client who was a very heavy alcohol user when she fell pregnant, joined the Healthy Mother Healthy Baby© Programme, gave birth to a baby boy who was examined at the 9-Month Baby Clinic and found to be healthy, thriving and FASD-free. This video, she explained, was shown as an example of the huge impact and difference FARR’s interventions are having on the lives of many people on our project sites.

7. Questions and Answers
Delegates were given the opportunity to ask questions via the chat webinar option. They were also invited to continue to liaise with us after the meeting by using the various contact options given in item 4 above. A vast number of delegates made positive comments during the meeting and congratulated FARR on the work that we are doing and the achievements.

8. Thank you
Ms Charnine Sobey thanked the delegates for their participation and continued support to FARR. She also thanked the dedicated FARR staff and applaud our CEO, Dr Leana Olivier for her inspired leadership.

She expressed the hope that FARR would be able to have a face-to-face AGM in 2022 when we will also celebrate FARR’s 25th birthday.

The meeting closed at 11h30.

These minutes were compiled by

Ms Estelle Pillay
Admin Coordinator

and signed off by

Dr Leana Olivier
14 October 2021