Nestlé Kenya through its global Nestlé for Healthier Kids program has announced the expansion of its “School Nutrition Gardens” project to Nyeri, Murang’a, and Meru Counties in a bid to benefit school-going children with balanced nutrition, contribute to training in agriculture and address growing cases of malnutrition.
The “School Nutrition Gardens” project which was pioneered in Nairobi and Kakamega Counties is expected to benefit over 50 schools in 2019. The benefiting schools are a part of the Nestlé for Healthier Kids program which covers over 700 primary schools countrywide.
The company has budgeted over Sh10 million for the implementation of Nestlé for Healthier Kids Program in 2019 alone.
Speaking during the launch of the program in Nyeri County, Nestlé Head of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Mr. James Ojiambo said Nestlé Kenya will supply the schools with organic fertilizers, seedlings and offer technical support to members of 4K clubs who will own and take care of the gardens.
“We will supply benefiting schools with 25kgs of organic fertilizer and seedlings. The children will choose which vegetables or crops to plant based on what is available, locally consumed and relevant to their class learning skills. We have partnered with external stakeholders to offer support to the 4k clubs to ensure that the gardens are well maintained,” said Mr. James Ojiambo.
“We are excited to expand the program in view of increased interest in gardening by school children. In 2018, Nairobi and Kakamega schools reported increased 4K club membership as pupils’ interest in gardening grows.”
Nestlé Kenya is banking on the “School Nutrition Gardens” program to revive the once popular 4K clubs which existed in every public primary school but stopped in early 1990s. With the omission of agriculture from the curriculum in primary schools and the subject being optional in high school, the “School Nutrition Gardens” project is aiming at reviving nutrition-related education in primary schools to drive food sufficiency.
“Even though late rains delayed the initiation of this year’s program, we are glad to kick off the 2019 intervention which will include gardening, especially for vegetables which are harvested continuously. Proceeds from the resulting sales will be used to purchase inputs for the following planting season,” said Mr. Ojiambo.
The program, which is CBC (competency-based curriculum) compliant, has so far helped to increase nutrition and health knowledge while promoting physical activity among school-age children. Through the 4K clubs whose acronym stands for Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya, the Nestlé for Healthier Kids Program plans to provide schools with nutrition knowledge, teaching methods and materials while offering practical lessons.
“The School gardens are a practical part of CBC as they offer a small-scale approach that is focused on adding to the learning environment in each school, allowing for localized educational development,” said Mr. Ojiambo.