Monako Dibetle of Nestle South Africa with Neo Rakwena, director for the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP) in the DBE at the launch of the project. Picture: ANA.

PRETORIA - The national department of basic education (DBE) on Tuesday, partnered with Nestlé South Africa to launch the food and beverage company’s global initiative geared towards promoting the overall health and well-being of children -- the “Nestlé for Healthier Kids” programme. 

Neo Rakwena, director for the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP) in the DBE said the partnership with Nestlé ensures that learners live and eat well, getting the time to exercise.

“One of the things we have done with Nestlé as a private business is to partner around nutrition education and that has been the thrust of our partnership. Basically, what entails that nutrition education is that we are able to target learners in schools, making sure that carry key messages on nutrition, having to promote nutrition knowledge, as well as making sure that they become physically active,” she said.

"Today’s global launch takes this to another level where we want to make sure that we reach a wider audience. This is one of our plans this year, and we will be looking at obesity as a theme. One of the challenges we are having as a department, or rather as society, is that we have high levels of obesity.”

Monako Dibetle of Nestle South Africa said the panel discussion held in Pretoria on Tuesday was aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles in learners.

“The panel discussion’s aim was to bring in everybody who has been working in the process of the Nestle for Healthy Kids programme. We were contributing to the broader discussion of nutrition in health and education,” said Dibetle.

The global “Nestlé for Healthier Kids” project was launched on United Nations International Day of Families and aims to help 50 million children by 2030. 

Through this initiative, Nestlé South Africa aims to reach over 50 percent of South African primary school learners by 2020.

In its bid to contribute to a healthier future, particularly among children, Nestlé has pledged to accelerate this work and by 2020 the company has undertaken to reduce added sugars by five percent, reduce salt by 10 percent, and to complete the commitment taken in 2014, to reduce saturated fats by 10 percent in all relevant products that do not meet World Health Organisation recommendations.  

African News Agency/ANA