To reduce undernutrition and overweight among school children, Helen Keller International in partnership with the Lagos State government reached 6, 000 pupils in nine public primary schools in the Ikeja Local Government.
The programme is funded by the Mondelez International Foundation aimed at teaching the pupils the importance of proper nutrition, physical activity and gardening through in-school and after–school activities will also target an estimated indirect reach of about 48000 out of school children and their families across Community Development Areas, CDAs, of Lagos State.
Speaking during the Helen Keller International Harvest Fair held last week in Lagos, the Country Director, Philomena Orji, said the Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles Project is designed to support schools and communities reach under-served children in Nigeria through innovative ways to end food insecurity and malnutrition.
Orji said the programme, which is also geared towards creating school and community environments that encourage children and families to adopt lifelong healthy habits, disclosed that the organisation has trained teachers, parents, and community development officers on improved techniques for cultivating diverse micronutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, with the aim of improving the production and consumption of nutrient-rich foods.
She explained that given the peculiarity of the peri-urban context in Ikeja, Helen Keller International applied expertise to improve and establish school gardens across the project schools.
“For three years, Helen Keller trained school health and agricultural teachers, school managers, specific state and LGA officers, food vendors, as well as engaged with Parents’ Forums, School-Based Management Committee (SBMC), and Parent Champions (PC) representatives.
The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Lagos State, Mrs Belinda Odcom, mended the efforts of Helen Keller International in assisting vulnerable and disadvantaged persons in both health and nutrition.
Represented by the Ministry’s Nutrition Desk Officer, Falaye Aderemi Aina, Aderonke noted that everyone must be worried about food insecurity, famine, and ways to improve the livelihood of Nigerians generally.