Dakar, 26 February 2015 – Today, Nestlé Senegal launched the Nestlé Healthy Kids programme in partnership with the Senegalese Ministry of Education. The launch took place in Alioune GAYE School, based in Diamagueune.
Nestlé Healthy Kids is in line with the Senegalese governmental strategy, "Programme for the Improvement of Quality, Equity and Transparency” (PAQUET) initiated by the Ministry of Education, of which Health education at School in an essential component.
Nestlé’s initiative aims at helping school-age children lead healthy lifestyles by increasing their basic knowledge and awareness of good nutrition and regular exercise.
"Through this approach, children learn the skills and values they need to make the most appropriate health and nutrition decisions. School remains a preferred place that shapes future awareness", said Mr. Joseph Pierre Ndiaye, Chief of staff at the Ministry of Education, during the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between Nestlé and the Ministry.
In many sub-Saharan African countries including Senegal, malnutrition represents a major public health challenge, in particular among young and school-age children. Nestlé Healthy Kids aims to contribute to the health of children by raising awareness about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, eating balanced meals at specific times, as well as practicing regular physical activity and good hygiene. The goal is to encourage behavioral change that promotes health in schools and at home, in line with the government’s National Nutrition Strategy.
500 children in Primary 1 classes across five public and private schools between Dakar and Sandiara will benefit from the programme during the pilot phase. They will attend nutrition and health classes for one hour a week. The classes will be taught by teachers trained by the Ministry of National Education and the Cellule de Lutte contre la Malnutrition (Unit for Fighting against Malnutrition).
Parents and school canteen staff will also benefit from awareness-raising efforts to ensure the sustainability of the project, with children’s caretakers adopting good nutritional practices.
At the end of the pilot, the programme will be jointly evaluated by Nestlé, the Ministry of Education and the Cellule de Lutte contre la Malnutrition, in collaboration with schools and communities involved. The objective will be to highlight its strengths, areas for improvement, and the relevance of the topics addressed.
"We want to develop this programme into an evidence-based, impactful initiative that contributes to the health of local school communities. The evaluation will lead to the development of an action plan to strengthen the programme before it is scaled up”, said Jean-Christophe Coubat, Country Manager of Nestlé Senegal.
Through this public-private partnership for the health of school children, Nestlé reaffirms its commitment to contribute to the economic and social development of the country, in line with its Creating Shared Value approach.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids programme is implemented in 69 countries with more than 280 partners. In 2013, the initiative reached 6.9 million children. The objective is to cover 80 countries by 2015.