What we Do

FARR understands the far-reaching implications of FASD and the impact on people and communities affected by it. We strive to have a long-term sustainable impact by:

  • Raising Social Awareness
  • Conducting world class Medical and Psychosocial Research related to FASD
  • Conducting Prevention and Intervention Programmes
  • Offering Training and Education Programmes
  • Offering Diagnostic and Support Services

FARR works in communities on invitation only.  Once invited, we follow an approach that conforms to international standards of research as shown in the diagram attached below:

Internationally, FAS Day is commemorated on 9 September. FARR Head Office Staff members as well as Project Teams are actively involved around this day annually with various Awareness campaigns. The FAS-knot is the international symbol reminding us about the risk of using alcohol during pregnancy

Our Projects usually offer the following programmes:

Social Awareness

FARR is committed to increasing awareness amongst all South Africans regarding the importance of not consuming any amount of alcohol during pregnancy to ensure FASD prevention in our country.

The cost of the management and treatment of any birth defect is more than the cost to prevent it, in other words: Prevention is more cost effective than management and treatment.  The usual prevalence rate of serious birth defects in a community is between 1-3%. This is defined as a defect, abnormality or disability that causes major hindrance to the full capacity development of a person. FASD is thought to affect at least 7 million South-Africans. Unfortunately, these statistics do not demonstrate the full effect of alcohol exposure during pregnancy as the broader effects of FASD such as Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND’s) and Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD’s), are generally difficult to diagnose.

It is estimated that FASD costs the USA more than $6 billion (approximately R42 billion) annually. In South Africa, the financial burden of FASD will fall on the Government and it’s tax payers.  The cost of FASD in South Africa has not yet been fully assessed to date.  The full impact of FASD is in fact immeasurable until the full extent of the far reaching implications for the individual, the family and community can be measured.  The diagnostic costs and the management of the primary disabilities are immense. If undetected and untreated many individuals with FASD present with secondary disabilities such as mental- and other health problems, substance and other forms of abuse, consequences of risky behavior and conflict with the law.  In light of this, it is apparent that all efforts should be put in place to raise awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol exposure during pregnancy and the importance to prevent children from being born with FASD.

World class research

To date, FARR has completed or is involved in more than 24 projects across South Africa and has published more than 65 scientific articles in respected journals such as: Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (ACER), the WHO bulletin, the American Journal of Public Health and the South African Medical Journal.

All of our publications are listed in the document linked below.

 FARR Journal Publications – April 2019
From Evidence to Awareness – Poster Presentation
 What Happened to Them – Poster Presentation
 Task Team Conference – Poster Training

 PhD Dissertation, Dr L Olivier, CEO of FARR: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in South Africa – A 20 year journey

Education and Training

A serious and growing need for community members, parents, caregivers and professionals (i.e. health care workers, social workers and educators) to be informed about the dangers of alcohol use and the prevention of FASD, was the main driving force behind the establishment of a dedicated Training Academy at FARR.  Subsequently in 2008, through funding graciously provided by the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA – known as Aware.org), this milestone was successfully achieved.

The aim of the Training Academy is:

To coordinate and facilitate awareness programmes, workshops and courses towards educating, developing capacity and strengthening social cohesion, specifically related to the prevention and management of FASD.

The specific objectives of the Training Academy are:

  • To raise awareness on substance abuse and its effects;
  • To raise awareness about FASD;
  • To build capacity of health care providers, educators, social workers, undergraduate students and other relevant stakeholders, to identify women at risk and offer suitable interventions to prevent alcohol use during pregnancy, undertake appropriate referrals and assign appropriate support services.
  • To build capacity pertaining to prevention, early identification and comprehensive management of individuals with FASD.

Education and Training Programmes offered:

Programmes that community members, farm- and general workers can benefit from, include:

  • FAStrap© Course

This is a 4-day life skills course consisting of 10 modules, including topics such as:  Self-image, Planning for a child, Responsible parenting, Discipline, Alcohol and substance abuse, etc.  Sessions presented are interactive and builds on attendees’ previous experiences, while also using a variety of games, storytelling, roleplays and discussions to enhance the learning experience.  Attendees are required to spread the message amongst peers and family, and upon proof thereof (completed registers), are issued with a Certificate of Attendance.

  • LoveChild Industrial Theatre Show (in co-operation with Take-Away theatre)

The 60-minute performance and workshop which is presented in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa educates audiences about the dangers of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy, safe sex, HIV/AIDS, etc. within the context of substance abuse.  No stage, sound or special lighting is required for the performance, only an open space and place for the audience to sit. Actors make use of a mix of live music, unexpected humour and audience interaction to bring the message across. The show has been praised for being very entertaining, true to life, thought provoking and educational.  After the performance, a short workshop is facilitated to enhance understanding and consolidate key concepts portrayed during the performance.

Please note:  The show is appropriate for adults and children from 12 years old, however, children under the age of 18 should not (where possible), be grouped with persons 18 years and older.

  • Think Twice Workshop

(Suitable for blue collar workers, general workers, company staff, peer educators)

This workshop was developed to increase the participants’ understanding of the impact of alcohol abuse on the individual, the family and community in terms of the physical effects thereof as well as the psychosocial impact e.g. contributing to domestic violence, committing of serious crimes and health-and-safety risks in the workplace.  It further provides an overview of FASD with a specific focus on the important role of male partners in the prevention of FASD. Information is shared about resources and strategies for assistance related to alcohol and substance abuse.

(Taking into consideration the importance of production- and workplace schedules, this workshop can be customized according to the availability and need of clients, e.g. duration can be adapted between 1 – 4 hours.

Courses for Professionals (Educators, Social Workers, Therapists and Health Care Professionals):

The Training Academy offers a 2-day course for various professionals in the health, welfare and educational sectors.  The first day of the course is focused on providing an overview of FASD, the epidemiology, how FASD is diagnosed, as well as developing insight into the human rights and ethical issues.  The second day is devoted to profession-specific theory, policies and practical interventions.

CPD Accreditation for professional persons is obtained (where possible) from the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP).   

Facilitators & Course Administration:

Currently the Training Academy has three full time staff members and two part-time facilitators.  We are

particularly fortunate to have on our staff qualified and experienced professional nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, psychometrists and psychologists who contribute to the inclusion of evidence-based course content and who are co-opted to facilitate appropriate training interventions. Course manuals and toolkits (where applicable) are provided to participants and certificates are issued for attendees who meet the required course and attendance criteria.

Do you require a Speaker?

Prof Denis Viljoen and Dr Leana Olivier are FARR’s two main spokespersons. They have impressive track records that boast presentations at conferences both nationally and internationally. Should you require either Prof Viljoen or Dr Olivier, or a trained professional involved in the front line of our FASD prevention and intervention studies to speak at your event and would like more information please contact info@farrsa.org.za

Please note that if you require a specific person to speak at your event that it would be best to book at least two months in advance.

Should you wish to participate in, or find out more about upcoming FARR Training-, Awareness-, Prevention- and Intervention programs, please contact us at info@farrsa.org.za or 021 686 2646

Diagnostics and Support

It is of utmost importance that the appropriate scientific diagnostic criteria are followed when diagnosing FASD. Most importantly to prevent the labelling and stigmatization of an individual and his or her family, but also to avoid misdiagnosis as a result of certain ethnic features which are common in a multi-cultural society such as South Africa.

The diagnosis of FASD can only be made by a multi-disciplinary team of trained specialists using the Institute of Medicines Model (IOM).  This would include:

  • A Clinical assessment by a medical specialist, trained in the diagnosis of FASD, making use of scientific testing and assessment tools and methods.
  • A Neurodevelopmental assessment by a trained psychometrist using a battery of measures to assess neuro-developmental functioning.
  • An extensive interview of the mother to understand the type, time and amount of alcohol the mother consumed during the pregnancy.

The outcomes of the 3 assessments are compared by the FARR specialist team, and if all results are conclusive, a diagnosis of FASD can be made.

FARR Private Clinic:
FARR has also introduced the availability of private consultations. For further information regarding these consultations, please contact info@farrsa.org.za. Please note that Professional charges do apply and can be used for Medical Insurance claims.

Support Groups:

Being a parent, caregiver or family member of someone who is affected by FASD, can be a very lonely road to travel. Through the provision of various support group services, FARR strives to provide a platform to inform, educate, share experiences and motivate those involved.  Support group gatherings are hosted at dedicated venues across the Cape Peninsula whilst information and support are provided via email, sms and slow-mail options.

Project Showcase

We would like to highlight some of the Projects we have implemented across South Africa, showcasing our Awareness, Prevention, Intervention and Training Programmes



PO Box 4373
Tyger Valley, 7536

Unit 5, Amber Place
42 Bloemhof Street
Bellville, 7535
Cape Town, South Africa

Telephone: +27 21 686 2645/6/7

Fax: +27 (0)21 685 7034

Email: info@farrsa.org.za

Website: www.farrsa.org.za



Comprehensive 3-year FASD Research, Awareness, Prevention and Capasity Development Project



Comprehensive 3-year FASD Research, Awareness, Prevention and Capasity Development Project



Comprehensive 3-year FASD Research, Awareness, Prevention and Capasity Development Project