Nestlé Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with the Ivorian Ministry of Health and the Ivorian Ministry of Education, launches the programme ″Nestlé Healthy Kids″, in support of the national strategy « School: an ally of Nutrition » initiated by the Ministry of Health.
The Healthy Kids programme is a Nestlé initiative aimed at enabling school-aged children to live healthy lives, while giving them the opportunity to adopt, good nutrition habits and to understand the importance of exercising.
« Nestlé has launched the Healthy Kids programme across the world, working in close collaboration with local partners in order to adapt it to the needs of each country. We are delighted to be able to implement it in Côte d’Ivoire and this is a token of our commitment to contribute to the nutrition, health and wellness of the society » explained Mauricio ALARCÓN, Country Manager, Nestlé Côte d’Ivoire.
The main objectives of the program are to sensitize children and their households on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, of maintaining a balanced diet, of exercising regularly, and also of abiding by the rules of nutritional and corporal hygiene to stay healthy.
The overarching goal is to lead to behavioral change and promote healthy habits in schools and households, in line with the national strategy in terms of nutrition.
In sub-Saharan Africa, malnutrition, particularly among young children and school-aged children, is a major challenge, and Côte d’Ivoire is not an exception to this statement. Nutritional education and regular exercise are therefore key drivers of change to mitigate this situation.
Five national schools and more precisely, 4th grade pupils will benefit from the program’s pilot phase inthe first year of implementation. These schools are located in Abidjan, the capital city and also in rural areas in the upper country. In total, 300 children will be following a nutrition and health course, one-hour per week, during the entire school year.
Each 4th grade pupil will receive a «Nestlé Healthy Kids» manual and the teachers will lecture the nutrition classes aided by a detailed guide on the course. Before the beginning of the course, teachers will participate in a special training programme on nutrition and health, provided by both ministries.
The parents and school canteen personnel will also be sensitized, to provide a holistic approach to the programme and ensuring ownership of the best nutrition practices by the community in which the children are growing up. Furthermore, periodic sports competitions will be organized to showcase the fun of exercising and promote its link to health.
At the end of the first year, the programme will be evaluated jointly by Nestlé and both ministries with the participating schools and communities. It will enable to identify the strong points of the programme, areas in need of enhancement, while also verifying the relevance of the topics tackled during the pilot phase. This assessment will lead to the development of an enriched action plan that will assist in the scaling up of the programme to a broader coverage within the country.
« In Côte d’Ivoire, 60% of school-aged children suffer from iron deficiencies and therefore are exposed to serious health problems. The initiative “Nestlé Healthy Kids” is aligned with our strategy “School: ally of nutrition” which envisages to increase the nutritional state of children to prevent them from micronutrient deficiencies and the dangers of malnutrition.» explained Dr Raymonde GOUDOU-KOFFIE, Minister of Health and the Fight against Aids.
For Mrs Kandia CAMARA, Minister of Education and Technical Learning: «With this programme, Nestlé contributes to increasing the knowledge of children and their households as far as nutrition is concerned. It supports the mission of Ivorian school, which is to model the future of the nation, helping children become healthy adults, able to contribute to the growth of the country.»
This public-private partnership for children s’ health, the first of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire, confirms Nestlé’s commitment to contribute to the economic and social development of the country, in line with its Creating Shared Value approach.
Today, ″Nestlé Healthy Kids″ is implemented in 68 countries, with the support of 280 partners. In 2013, 6.9 million children have benefitted from the program. The aim is to have covered 80 countries by 2015 .
Cote d’Ivoire is the 5th country to rally the programme in Central and West Africa. The Healthy kids programme started in the region in 2011 and is covering Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroun reaching 75000 children. Recently, the Ministry of Education in Senegal partnered with Nestle Senegal to kick-off the initiative.