Nairobi — At least 2 million children across 4,800 schools in Western and Central regions have benefitted from Blue Band Nutrition Education Campaign aimed at promoting healthy living.
The campaign is part of Blue Band’s journey and commitment towards growing healthy and happy kids by equipping 100 million school going children in Africa and Asia with education on the importance of a nutritious breakfast.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 2million children under the age of five in Kenya are stunted, the most frequent form of undernutrition.
“As a food and nutrition company, we play a pivotal role in people’s everyday lives. We remain committed to build our business with public health nutrition and well-being in mind. We believe that what goes into our products can impact people for good which is why we continually analyse and improve the nutritional content of our products to ensure our consumers can enjoy healthier lives,” said Peter Muchiri, Upfield Managing Director, East and Southern Africa.
“Poor nutrition in children continues to have long term impacts such as developmental challenges which limit a child’s potential resulting to poor performance in the classroom, impaired daily health, and well-being. For instance, Vitamin A deficiency can cause lower immunity and lead to reoccurring diseases. Our products are fortified with vitamins and minerals in line with UNICEF standards,” he added.
According to the Ministry of Health, the prevalence of severe Vitamin A deficiency in Kenya stands at 14% while moderate Vitamin A deficiency stands at 61% among children under 5 years.
Vitamin A and mineral deficiencies have been estimated to cost Sub-Saharan countries more than $2.3billion each year in lost productivity.
To address this challenge of undernutrition and informed by the reality that porridge is a top breakfast dish for African children, Upfield introduced into the market the Blue Band Instant Porridge which is fortified with 10 vitamins and 5minerals that are essential for the healthy growth of children in line with UNICEF standards.
“Western diets continue to be associated with an increased rate of non-communicable diseases and environmentally unfriendly practices. As a developing market, Africa is susceptible to similar pitfalls, but it is also ripe with opportunity to do better,” said Tim Verbeek, Upfield Africa, Middle East, and Asia President.
Between 2016 and 2019, the Blue Band School Program Campaign has engaged with 3,990 schools, directly reaching 2.5 million children and 1.5 million mothers via USSD. Indirectly, our initiative reached 12m million kids.
In the 2022 program, we have reached 2 million children directly across 4,800 schools in Kenya which translates to educating 6 million children indirectly.