The University of Ghana’s Nutrition and Food Science Department has released the results of the first monitoring and evaluation for the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in Ghana.
The results were released to Nestle officials at the Monitoring and Evaluation Dissemination Workshop in Accra.
The workshop was aimed at evaluating and assessing the programme to ensure that it achieves the set target.
Nestlé Healthy Kids is a global programme, which aims to raise awareness about nutrition, health and wellness and promote physical activity among school children around the world through better eating, healthy hydration, greater physical activity or other key health measures such as hygiene.
It is implemented in Ghana in partnership with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the University of Ghana’s Nutrition and Food Science Department.
Nestlé is the first company in the country to introduce an intervention for nutrition education at primary-school level and the programme has been running since 2011.
The Monitoring and Evaluation assessed the nutritional knowledge, knowledge in hygiene and sanitary practices as well as behavioral change in the implementing schools.
Presenting the report to GES and the media, Dr. Gloria Otoo, from the Nutrition & Food Science Department of the University of Ghana, said: “The results demonstrate that the programme is effective in improving the overall nutrition knowledge and practice of beneficiary pupils.”
In the Central and Western Region, Nestlé Healthy Kids children were able to correctly identify more food groups (19.2%) and food nutrients (34.2%) than non-Healthy Kids (7.8% and. 3.4% respectively). The report recommends that the programme develops a parent component in order to enhance behavior change of pupils since the role of parents in the diets of children cannot be over-emphasized.
In a speech read on behalf of Moataz El Hout, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, Aaron Fenu, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, assured that Nestle Ghana will continue to develop new ways to measure the effectiveness of the programme.
“Over time, we want to develop it into an evidence-based, impactful initiative that contributes to the health of local school communities”.
He added that the “long-term success of the programme will depend on the ability of the education system to reintroduce nutrition education and physical activity in participating schools”.
In Ghana, the programme started on a pilot basis in the cocoa growing districts of Juaboso and Agona East in the Western and Central Regions. In 2013, it was scaled up to further districts, including Savelugu-Nanton, Kwahu North, Afram Plains and Adansi South/North, in the Northern, Eastern and Ashanti Regions respectively.
Over 10,000 pupils, 360 teachers and officials from 6 Districts have benefited from the program since its inception.
Globally, Nestlé Healthy Kids reached 6.9 million children in 68 countries in 2013 alone.
In a speech, the Ag. Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (G.E.S), Charles Y. Tsega, commended the company for taking an initiative which will promote good health of school children.
He advised Nestle to use teachers to run the programme in the selected schools which according to him will make the programme more successful.