Nestlé Ghana has introduced vegetable gardening as a component of the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme to encourage the consumption of vegetables by children.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme forms an integral part of the company’s commitment to help children develop positive habits that will last a lifetime. Implemented in partnership with Ghana Education Services and the Nutrition Department of the University of Ghana, the programme raises awareness about the importance of eating balanced meals, following good hygiene practices and practicing regular physical activity.
The introduction of the vegetable gardens in Healthy Kids schools will provide hands-on knowledge to the children and will complement what they have learned in the classroom during nutrition sessions. The garden will first be piloted in Duabone Primary in the Agona East District before being replicated in other schools. At the end of the pilot, teachers, invited parents and the children will demonstrate a cooking lesson with their harvest of pepper (chilli), okra and carrot.
Teachers have been trained on how to prepare land, plant seeds, manage pest and disease and good irrigation practices. The training was done in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Extension of the University of Ghana and Ghana Education Services (GES). The programme is to be run by the schools under the supervision and involvement of the teachers.
Mrs. Helena Mends-Kittoe, the GES representative to the programme, entreated the teachers to make the vegetable gardening fun and interesting.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme, which commenced in 2011 in Ghana, reached over 10,000 children and 360 Teachers and District Education Officers in the seven implementing districts in 2014. It is currently implemented in the Central, Western, Eastern, Northern and Ashanti Regions.
In 2013, Nestlé Ghana introduced “Kids Athletics”, in collaboration with the Ghana Athletics Association, to promote physical activity among children in the basic schools. In addition, a Healthy Hydration module was added to the programme in 2014 to encourage the consumption of potable water as an essential element for healthy growth and development.
By the end of 2017, the Nestlé Healthy Kids programme aims at directly reaching over 30,000 Ghanaian children aged between 6 and 12 years old.