Nestlé, the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, is actively addressing the pressing issues of obesity and under-nutrition in Central and West Africa and worldwide.
In youngsters, a lack of physical activity and bad dietary habits may lead to obesity. At the same time, the absence of vital micronutrients such as vitamin A, zinc, iron or iodine can cause stunting in growth and a lower resistance to infection.
To help tackle these prevalent problems, Nestlé launched its Healthy Kids Global Programme aimed at children aged six to 12 in 2009.
The programme aims to help counteract these widespread trends by promoting nutrition education, good nutritional practices, healthy lifestyles and physical activity amongst schoolchildren.
Its approach is based on worldwide multi-stakeholder partnerships such as national and local governments, non-governmental organizations, nutrition health institutes or sport federations.
Two years after its global launch, Nestlé extended the initiative to the Central and West Africa region, starting with Nigeria and Ghana.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme was recently rolled out to Cameroon at the end of last year.
So far, about 1,200 children and 75 teachers have benefited from the initiative.
As part of the programme, teaching and learning materials have been provided to ten schools in the country.
It is also set to launch in Côte d’Ivoire in 2014 with an aim to reach about 250 children in the pilot stage.
In Ghana, the Nestlé Healthy Kids programme has already reached 10,039 children and 240 teachers since it was launched in 2011.
A total of 62,483 children and 807 teachers and monitors in Nigeria have also been impacted by the initiative in the same period.
Each child has received a Nestlé Healthy Kids manual, food models and play kits to use in their 45-minute lesson each week.
Nestlé Healthy Kids instructor manuals have been given to teachers to help in the classroom.
A total of 27 schools in Ghana have received such teaching and learning materials since the initiative was launched. In Nigeria, 112 schools have benefited from the programme.
Nestlé is working with the Ministry of Education in each respective country as part of its efforts to boost nutrition education.
The company has partnered with the Nutrition and Food Science department at the University of Ghana to provide teachers with training on the programme.
It is also working with the Nigerian Lagos and Ogun State governments, and the Centre for Health Education, Population and Nutrition in Nigeria.
To further develop the physical activity side of the initiative, children are taking part in one physical activity class each week.
Nestlé teamed up with its global partner, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in Nigeria in 2013, and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, to further develop the programme and promote athletics in schools.
The company has also implemented its Kids Athletics Programme through the Ghana Athletics Association, the local entity that is working with the IAAF.
Local impact and recognition
In 2013, Nestlé carried out its first monitoring and evaluation of the Healthy Kids Programme in Nigeria with the Human Nutrition Department at the University of Ibadan.
Results showed that participating schoolchildren significantly improved their eating habits and physical activity behaviour.
It highlighted that schools boosted nutrition education in the classroom to help their students develop healthy lifestyles. For example, children brought fruit to school as part of a weekly ‘fruits day’ organised by some of the schools.
At home, parents and family members actively supported and reinforced the programme by requesting their own Healthy Kids manual after seeing the benefits of the children’s manual.
Nestlé Creating Shared Value initiatives, including the Healthy Kids programme, were recognised by the 2014 Ghana CSR Awards that Nestlé Ghana won on 8 May.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme is part of the company’s approach to business, which it calls ‘Creating Shared Value’. It is part of Nestlé’s commitment to promote healthy diets and encourage active lifestyles and physical activity.
By the end of 2013, Nestlé was actively working with more than 280 partners in 68 countries, and reached more than 6.9 million children last year alone.
It aims to further expand the initiative to reach 80 countries by 2015, with the activation of the IAAF Kids Athletics programme.
NESTLÉ HEALTHY KIDS PROGRAMME IN CWAR
- Ghana: more than 10,039 children and 240 teachers have benefited since 2011
- Nigeria: more than 62,483 children and 807 teachers have taken part since 2011
- Cameroon: 1,200 children and 75 teachers have participated since 2013
- Côte d’Ivoire: 250 children to be reached in pilot stage
Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme
NestléHealthy Kids Programme helps teachers in Nigeria