By PETER EJIOFOR (News Agency of Nigeria)
AS Nigeria marks this year’s Children’s Day, Nestle Nigeria restates its commitment to helping children live healthier lives.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that May 27 of every year is set aside to raise awareness of the problems faced by children, who make up about 42 per cent of Nigeria’s population.
The day is typically marked by parades and events to recognise, honour, celebrate and appreciate Nigerian children. However, it will be marked differently this year in view of the current situation.
Speaking in commemoration of Children’s Day, Nestlé Nigeria Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, said in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos: “I am delighted to wish all children a very Happy Children’s Day. “We recognise that to ensure a healthier future, children need the right nourishment and an active lifestyle.
“At Nestlé Nigeria, we remain committed to helping children imbibe healthy habits early while enabling their parents and caregivers with nutritious food products and the right information to make healthier nutrition choices.
“In the past three years, our company has launched unique products specifically adapted to the needs of children, including CERELAC Junior, GOLDEN MORN Maize and Soya, as well as MILO Ready to Drink.
“These products are fortified with micronutrients to meet the needs of pre-school and school age children.
“Recognising the need for multi-sector interventions to address the challenges facing the Nigerian child, Nestlé Nigeria has been at the forefront of efforts to help Nigerian children live healthier and happier lives.
“This has been achieved through research, product innovation, food fortification, nutrition education and promotion of an active lifestyle in line with the company’s global ambition to help 50 million children globally, lead healthier lives by 2030.”
Uwadoka said the ambition would be supported by its global flagship programme, Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) and would federate all of Nestlé’s efforts to support parents and caregivers on their journey to raise healthier kids.
She added that the company reached over 1.5 million children each year through the N4HK school-based programme and Milo School Sports Development Programme.
“In Nigeria, Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) which is run in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Health, Universal Basic Education Board, Ogun State, FCT Universal Basic Education Board and the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, currently reaches 17,000 children every year.
“N4HK also incorporates a school-based nutrition education programme, which seeks to teach children about nutrition from an early age to enable them to make better nutrition decisions and form healthier nutrition habits.
“To help children imbibe healthy habits including good nutrition, active lifestyles through adequate physical activity, good hygiene practices, and healthy hydration, over 200 teachers have been trained in Ogun and the FCT.
“The training was done in collaboration with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and the Universal Basic Education Boards.
“Nestlé Nigeria Plc also invested in enhancing the teaching and learning environment by renovating school facilities as well as by donating relevant education aid materials,’’ she said.
Receiving materials for the N4HK schools in Ogun on behalf of the Ogun SUBEB earlier in the academic year, the board’s Secretary, Mr Olalekan Kuye said: “Children are the future of Ogun, so investing in them is investing in the future.
“I commend Nestlé Nigeria for the consistent work they are doing through the Nestlé for Healthier Kids Initiative.”
In March 2020, Nestlé for Healthier Kids hosted a Nutrition Quiz and Essay competition for all 20 N4HK benefitting schools in Ogun to enhance recall and retention of the lessons learnt.
The Nutrition Quiz is a core part of the N4HK school-based programme. They were quizzed on topics curated by the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) from the N4HK students’ manual covering nutrition, healthy hydration, hygiene and physical activities.
Wesley School 1 Sagamu emerged as the champions of the contest, winning educational and sports materials for the contestants as well as for their school.
Recall and retention is also enhanced through cooking demonstrations and sport activities in the participating schools.
It will be recalled that Nestlé had renovated school facilities including classrooms, libraries, offices, crèches, boreholes, toilets and playgrounds in some of the N4HK benefitting schools.
NAN reports that the 30 participating schools received posters, interactive boards, manuals as well as water bottles, stationery and camp gases for cooking demonstrations.
NAN recalls that Nestlé Nigeria Plc began simple trading operations in Nigeria in 1961 and has grown into a leading food manufacturing and marketing company.