It was jointly flagged off by the Deputy Minister of Sports, Joseph Yasmin and the Deputy Education Minister in charge of basic education, Alex Kyeremeh, assisted by the Country Manager of Nestlé Ghana Moataz El Hout.
Over 400 kids from the University of Ghana Basic Schools attended the event.
Under the aegis of Nestlé and IAAF Kids Athletics Progamme, the Group is sponsoring the 4-year initiative, which will be implemented in conjunction with the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) to benefit 200, 000 pupils nationwide in its first year alone.
It is aimed at encouraging school children to participate in athletics while, at the same time, educating them about the need for a healthy lifestyle as part of Nestlé’s commitment to Nutrition, Health and Wellness. An additional goal is to support the development of future athletes.
Strengthening the Nestlé healthy kids global program:
Aside effecting a landmark investment in sports development, it will further complement the company’s Healthy Kids programme, the global initiative, which promotes nutrition education, a balanced dieting, greater physical activity and a healthy lifestyle to children between the ages of six and 12.
In Ghana, the Healthy Kids Global Programme was launched in 2011 and has, so far, reached more than 4,000 pupils between the ages of six and 12 in the Agona East and Juaboso districts in Central and Western Regions, with expansion to the Ashanti, Eastern and Northern regions by the end of November this year, bringing the cumulative figure to 10, 000.
Moataz said: ‘’Nestlé is partnering the International Associations of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because the two institutions share a common goal of promoting and encouraging physical activity among children, as well as promoting sound nutrition as the foundation for healthy habits and an active lifestyle.’’
“Nestlé Ghana is pleased to have entered into partnership with the Ghana Athletics Association to promote the development of grassroots sports in the country,” he added. .
“This will help the children develop positive physical, health and social skills by engaging in sporting activities while enhancing the development of future athletes”, he emphasized.
The Deputy Sports Minister hailed the initiative, which, he said was important to the government and the sports fraternity because of its capacity to help address some of the challenges bedeviling the sector, while his counterpart the Deputy Education Minister lauded Nestlé for its continual investment in the education and sports sectors as worthy of emulation.
Dr Marc Dzradosi, Coordinator of the Kids’ Athletics programme of the Ghana Athletics Association, described the event as a “milestone”, which will lend a new impetus to the development of sports in the country.
Nestlé will provide financial support for the GAA through IAAF to train athletics coaches and lecturers with the aim of eventually reaching a larger number of children in existing or new markets.
The GAA was chosen as the implementer because of the association’s role in promoting the development of athletics in Ghanaian schools.
President of the GAA, Prof. Francis Dodoo, is upbeat about the programme and underscores Nestlé’s support for it:
“Ghana Athletics Association’s goal/mandate is to develop a pipeline of next-generation athletes.
Naturally, the process of development must begin in the chronological grassroots; that is, the young boys and girls who will be the beneficiaries of the Nestlé/IAAF Kids Athletics program. GAA is thankful for the partnership with Nestlé, IAAF, Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Government for making this program possible