Corporates including Tiger Brands and Spar step up to the plate as SA marks National Nutrition Week
Share this article:
CORPORATES, including Tiger Brands and Spar, alongside other South African organisations, are rallying around the issue of food security as South Africa marks National Nutrition Week this week, with a focus on the plight of the growing hunger and malnutrition among South Africa’s children, which could hamper education outcomes, further propelling the cycle of poverty.
One of the unintended effects of the nearly two-year lockdown in South Africa has been the disruption of feeding schemes at schools, affecting an estimated 9.2 million learners in 19 800 schools across the country.
Tiger Brands said that, as one of the biggest food producers in South Africa, there was an inherent obligation on their part to relieve one of the globe’s greatest challenges – food security. The group said that this began with the youth as hungry students were unable to fulfil their true potential. It said that hunger compounds the pressures that they face them as young people trying to make their way through life, particularly when their performance at university has a critical impact on their future potential professional lives.
“Assisting students with food supplies while studying at tertiary institutions means one less substantial worry for our country’s youth. It ensures that they are given an equal opportunity to access a successful future,” said Zolile Ntukwana, external affairs director at Tiger Brands.
Tiger Brands initiated Plates4Days in 2008 as a means of addressing the challenge of student hunger at universities across South Africa by providing those in need with nutritionally balanced food hampers.
The 13-year-old programme supported more than 5 000 students each month at seven of the country’s universities. Qualifying students received a food hamper each month which is packaged with dietary staples such as maize meal and rice to help sustain them.
The University of Pretoria’s SNAPP is a support programme that is run by the Department of Student Affairs at the university, catering for students who are financially disadvantaged, with limited or no funding. The programme was initiated to foster high-quality education for students in need by providing them with food and psychological support.
UP vice-principal for student affairs Professor Themba Mosia said 250 students were assisted through SNAPP on a monthly basis and, with the support from the Plates4days programme, the university would double the number of students that they were able to support.
The contribution from Tiger Brands “will go a long way in providing relief in an economic climate where more and more families are slipping into poverty and student food insecurity is escalating,” Mosia said.
“We are most grateful for this partnership in support of the overall health and wellness of our student community and student success during these challenging times,” he said.
Meanwhile, Spar brand promotions and advertising manager Bhavna Sanker said: “We’ve stepped up to the plate this National Nutrition Week with our ‘One 4 You, One 4 Me’ campaign. During October, customers can purchase any two Spar Mageu 1-litre products for just R22, and then pop one carton into the trolley at the front of every store. At the end of the campaign, stores will give all donated stock to local charities in need of this nutritious product. In addition, Spar will donate R1.50 for every carton sold during this campaign period to Operation Hunger.”
Afrika Tikkun chief executive Alef Meulenberg said this week that as society grappled with the litany of socio-economic challenges worsened by Covid-19 and recent looting in South Africa, child hunger was among the most urgent because of the devastating long-term risks as well as its immediate child protection and humanitarian consequences.
In addition to ongoing feeding programmes, Afrika Tikkun said it had responded to the crisis situation in some areas of the country where child hunger has been especially prevalent, with its centres across South Africa providing meals for 10 000 people, mostly young people and children, daily.
Afrika Tikkun said by investing in programmes that empowered young people in poor communities to become entrepreneurs and employers, it had seen that the power to eradicate poverty lay within the young people and communities themselves.
The World Bank has warned that between 88 and 115 million people globally are being pushed into poverty as a result of Covid-19. This year, this number is expected to rise to between 143 and 163 million.