Millions of Africans are boosting their nutrition, health and wellness at all levels of Nestlé’s value chain as part of its commitment to Central and West Africa.
The company has reaffirmed its confidence in the region by launching new initiatives, extending existing schemes and investing in its workforce.
“This year alone, we have impacted thousands of people through our activities and actions,” said Kais Marzouki, Market Head for Nestlé in the Central and West Africa Region (CWAR).
“From educating youngsters to training farmers, and empowering new parents to supporting communities, we are committed to build on the future of Central and West Africa.”
Nestlé’s work throughout the year is all part of its way of doing business, which it calls ‘Creating Shared Value’. It aims to provide opportunities and improve livelihoods for the communities in which it operates, while developing its own activities.
Nestlé is continuing to enhance nutrition on the continent, starting with children who are getting more active and learning about good nutrition as part of its pledge to promote healthy diets and lifestyles/physical activity.
The company is rolling out its Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in 80 countries with the help of its partners.
The initiative, already active in Ghana, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, was launched as a pilot in Burkina Faso in 2015 in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Literacy, aiming to reach 1,055 students over three years.
The programme was also launched in Senegal earlier this year with the Ministry of Education to reach about 500 schoolchildren aged nine-12 in five schools. Teachers have been trained by the Ministry of Education and the Fight against Malnutrition Unit to lead a one-hour weekly lesson on healthy nutrition.
Sanitation in schools
In Nigeria, local schools and villages are benefiting from Nestlé Waters’ partnership with international non-governmental organization, Project WET.
In 2015, a total of 5,994 schoolchildren and 363 teachers in 115 schools in the states of Lagos and Osun had access to clean water and sanitation.
Next year it will be expanded to Abaji, in Federal Capital Territory, with an aim to impact 1,200 pupils and 75 teachers in 25 schools.
This year, Africans in the region have learnt about the benefits of cutting salt in their diets through a digital campaign by Nestlé CWAR.
The ‘Healthy Living Africa’ campaign, released on its social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, used a different theme each week to focus on practical tips to reduce salt.
The campaign reached more than 11 million people via the Nestlé and Central West Africa (CWAR) Facebook account and the Nestlé CWAR Twitter feed through the use of messages, visuals and hashtags such as #DidYouKnow and #HealthyLivingAfrica.
People in Cameroon will also learn about the effect of salt on health with another campaign led by Nestlé Cameroon and the Ministry of Public Health.
Clean water access
By leveraging the importance of water again this year, more communities in CWAR now have access to clean water and sanitation as part of Nestlé’s pledge to provide 350,000 people in local communities with access to water, sanitation or hygiene projects around its manufacturing facilities, and in areas where it sources raw materials, by 2016.
The company renewed its partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies last year, in which it committed to contribute CHF 5 million over five years to improve access to sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
To date about 400,000 people have been impacted worldwide, exceeding Nestlé’s 2016 target. This includes nearly 200,000 people in Côte d’Ivoire, of whom over 163,000 have received hygiene awareness training.
This year, the partnership was extended to Ghana, where in both urban and rural areas, improved sanitation is available to a small proportion of the population. It aims to improve access to sustainable water and sanitation facilities in cocoa-growing communities where Nestlé buys cocoa. The community need assessment was recently carried out and the implementation of the project is set to start in early 2016.
Raising awareness through a soap opera
Focusing its attention on rural development has also meant farmers and communities are independently improving their livelihoods as part of Nestlé’s commitment to implement responsible sourcing in its supply chain.
Through the Nestlé Grains Quality Improvement Project (GQIP), launched in 2007 in Nigeria and Ghana with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria, farmers are learning about good agricultural and storage practices to manage grain quality. In 2015, about 15,000 farmers and their families were trained about the health effects of mycotoxins and the measures needed to prevent them.
A mobile cinema also travelled across Ghanaian villages to screen a soap opera created by Nestlé that reinforced the messages the farmers had received during the training.
Impacting farmers and communities
Farmers are further benefiting from the Nestlé Cocoa Plan (NCP), which aims to enable them to run profitable farms and improve their social conditions, while allowing the company to source high-quality, sustainable cocoa.
It is already active in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, where over 45,000 cocoa farmers have been trained through capacity-building programmes in 2015 alone.
Nestlé also pledged under the NCP to build or refurbish 40 schools by 2015 in Côte d’Ivoire with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).
Since 2012, it built or refurbished 42 schools with the WCF, enabling more than 3,000 children to go to school for the first time.
In Ghana, Nestlé, has already made an impact on about 9,000 farmers, built three schools and constructed eight boreholes to benefit about 14,000 people in the Eastern and Ashanti regions.
It has also constructed four Village Resource Centres (VRCs) in Ghana as part of the plan. These are containers based in schools and equipped with computers with child-friendly software and Internet access.
Schoolchildren are increasing their skills with the Information Communication Technology education available at the VRCs. In parallel, the VRCs are helping local farmers with audio-visual training on good agricultural practices.
To reduce the impact on the environment and help preserve natural resources in the region, Nestlé is continuing to improve resource efficiency in its operations.
By 2020, it aims to achieve zero waste for disposal in all CWAR factories. At the Yopougon factory in Côte d’Ivoire, the company is using the leftover waste product of cassava – an ingredient used in Maggi bouillons – and turning it into compost, along with the canteen waste. Used cartons are also recycled into egg crates.
At the Agbara factory in Nigeria, spent grains generated from sorghum, millet, maize and soya during processing are sent to silo, discharged to trucks and then sold to farmers for use as livestock feed. In 2015, Nestlé reused 1,560 tonnes of materials.
In Senegal, solar panels are used to heat water at the Dakar factory, resulting in an annual saving of over 60,000 kWh of energy.
People have been at the heart of Nestlé’s activities again this year.
The company has continued to train young Africans at its training centre in Agbara, Nigeria, which helps local students and employees develop skills in different areas of manufacturing engineering during a four-month scholarship.
The interns study for an internationally recognised vocational qualification over the period of 18 months, in which a selected a group of five engineers are able to gain international experience in Switzerland.
Since its launch in 2011, over 20 students have taken up positions at Nestlé after completing their internship.
The initiative looks set to be replicated in Côte d’Ivoire next year.
Supporting parents at the workplace
At Nestlé CWAR, new breastfeeding mothers are being helped to balance motherhood and work thanks to the Nestlé CWAR Parental Policy, which is designed to support employees and their children in all its sites across the region.
By the end of 2016, it will offer all employees who are primary caregivers of their newborns, new measures such as maternity leave up to six months, in addition to a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave, as well as breastfeeding rooms in all sites which have more than 50 female employees.
The policy, which reinforces the company’s support for the World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, is in line with the Nestlé Global Maternity Protection Policy, embracing key principles set out by the International Labour Organization Maternity Protection Convention.