By Onuwa Lucky Joseph
June 15, 2021, the Science Primary School (SPS) in Kuje Abuja was buzzing with activity as all around kids showcased their youthful energy at play on the field and as well in class. It was the ideal backdrop to the Nestle Nutrition Quiz holding in the school that morning. Though Covid restrictions ensured the crowd at the event was controlled, the results from the quiz showed that the lessons taught by the teachers in class had been well internalised by the kids.
On that first day of the competition, (the event is scheduled to run till June 24, 2021), the participating students fired correct answer after correct answer from questions on healthy nutrition, hydration, hygiene and maintaining active physical lifestyles.
It was keen, it was engaging, and despite the quizmaster Dr. Florence Uchendu’s admonition for the kids to handle the competition as sportspeople, Saida Salihu who represented the host school, SPS Kuje, could not be consoled when her team lost 30/37 to UBE Pasali. In the second quiz, Jiwa LEA Primary School defeated Narai Primary School by 39/25 points. One observation from the second competition is that both schools were hundred percent represented by girls.
The Nutrition Quiz is a component of the wider Nestle for Healthier Kids (N4HK), the company’s flagship initiative which aims to help 50 million children globally lead healthier lives by 2030, not surprisingly, the same target year for the SDGs. In Nigeria, N4HK incorporates a school-based nutrition education program equipping children with information to enable them make healthier nutrition decisions from an early age towards a healthier future.
Commenting on the competition, the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Nigeria, Mrs. Victoria Uwadoka said, “It is a fact that teaching children about healthy nutrition and active lifestyles from an early age will make it easier for them to develop healthy nutrition habits. The Nutrition Quiz”, she said, “helps to enhance recall and retention of in-class lessons taught by the N4HK teachers”.
Mrs. Uwadoka expressed the delight of the team at being in the FCT to build on the success of Nestlé Nutrition Quiz competition which took place in Ogun State in 2020, going further to thank Nestle partners including the FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) and the FCT chapter of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education for their commitment and support towards achieving the objectives of the N4HK program in Nigeria.
In the same vein, Mrs. Edidiong Peters, Public Affairs Specialist for Nestle, felt gratified that the kids so educated by the Nestle Nutrition curriculum would go on to teach their parents and family as well as their peers, thereby spreading a message that needs be heard especially in this part of the world. And as it is targeted at primary 5 pupils, there is a conveyor belt approach that sees a fresh set coming through every year to proclaim the good nutrition message.
The FCT Chapter Chairman of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Florence Uchendu, voiced her conviction that “This nutrition quiz competition will test the children’s understanding of the nutrition lessons they have been taught under the Nestlé for Healthier Kids program. It will help to increase the pupils’ retention and encourage practice, culminating in improved nutritional status. We commend Nestlé Nigeria PLC for this laudable project”.
Also present to lend their support were Dr. Chinwe Ezebuiro who stood in for Dr. Binyerem Ukaire, Director and Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health; Mrs. Joy Jideonwo of the Federal Ministry of Education, and Alhaji Baba Aboki from the FCT Universal Basic Education Board.