Cadbury Nigeria Plc, in partnership with Helen Keller International (HKI), an NGO, has begun the distribution of farm inputs to public schools in Ikeja Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State.
Mr Bala Yesufu, Director, Corporate and Government Affairs, Cadbury Nigeria, made the disclosure in Lagos in an interview with news men
Yesufu said that it was part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to encourage nutrition and healthy living among Nigerians, especially among school children.
He said the company’s recent School Gardening Groundbreaking ceremony was in furtherance of the Mondelez Foundation’s 50 million dollars commitment to promote healthy lifestyles, while addressing obesity in nine countries, including Nigeria.
“Mondelez International is the parent company of Cadbury Nigeria and the foundation is focused on three pillars namely: investing in community programmes that promote active, healthy lifestyles.
“It will help to improve the lives of children and their families providing humanitarian aid through cash and products when disaster strikes.
“This will also inspire our colleagues to contribute their time and talent to charitable causes.
“These community partnerships are transforming the lives of more than a million children in 14 nations spanning five continents,’’
“The foundation has added new programmes to its existing ones and Cadbury Nigeria joins nine other countries in the Mondelez International family in promoting healthy lifestyles and addressing obesity.
“The 50 million dollars commitment fund is being tapped by nine countries, including Nigeria to help in the promotion of school gardening in the form of input distribution and grants when needed.’’
He said the primary objective of the programme was to teach children the importance of proper nutrition, physical activity and gardening through in-school and after-school activities.
“It is expected that if children imbibe these healthy habits, they will grow up to become healthy adults that can contribute meaningfully to our national development.
“We are happy to partner with Helen Keller International in this initiative,’’
Meanwhile, HKI had earlier said it had trained 130 teachers, nutritionists and agriculturists to drive the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative for schools in Ikeja LGA.
The Country Director of HKI, Mrs Philomena Orji, said the teachers trained were regarded as the master trainers who would train school pupils on modern gardening techniques.
“We have trained teachers on nutrition and hygiene for three days and the feedback we got is impressive.
“The 130 teachers who are regarded master trainers will teach over 6,000 children in public primary schools the importance of proper nutrition, physical activity and gardening.
“The nutrition and healthy lifestyle project aims to bring nutrition education, active play and fresh foods to underserved children and their families in Ikeja LGA,’’
Orji also said that children would learn to plant, weed and harvest nutritious crops through the project, while a Health Club will be established in all nine pilot schools.
According to Orji, the programme is to build on the HKI’s commitment to help communities thrive and improve the well-being of school age children and their families.
The NGO and its partners (Cadbury Nigeria Plc and the Lagos State Government), promised to extend the programme to other local government areas of the state.
Inputs distributed included shovels, seeds, hoes, orange fleshed potato, vines among others.
The school gardening groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 1, at the Agidingbi Primary School with school children in attendance.