As part of celebrating National Nutrition Week, Tiger Brands Foundation will hand over a R450000 kitchen to Seithati Intermediate School in Botshabelo tomorrow for being named the best Nutrition Schools National Programme in the country.
Among those attending will be education MEC Tate Makgoe.
The Foundation, which is administering the country’s largest private sector school nutrition programme, is also calling on corporate donors in the province and around the country to participate in tackling under-nutrition.
The Foundation executive director Eugene Absolom says under-nutrition is one of the bigger challenges facing Africa and Asia today.
He said in partnership with the Basic Education Department’s national Nutrition Programme, the Foundation’s in-school nutrition initiative, is the largest programme of its kind in South Africa reaching at least 60000 pupils daily in just under 90 no-fee paying schools across all nine provinces.
“Under-nutrition will hold back learning and development of millions of children around the world and the effects will be more dire in developing nations such as South Africa. According to a recent study published on the Lancet medical journal, children who do not get proper nutritional care and stimulation will earn about 26% less than others as adults,” Absolom said.
He said the Lancet study says 250 million young children across the world, 43% of under-fives are unlikely to fulfil their full potential as adults because of stunting and extreme poverty, a condition directly related to under-nutrition.
“The long-term effects of under-nutrition will be significant and may impact the ability of nations to develop and be economically competitive. According to the 2016 Global Nutrition Report, tackling malnutrition will pave the way for attaining the 2030 development goals,” Absolom said.
He said the 2016 Global Nutrition Report study estimates that malnutrition in Africa and Asia is costing the regions about 11% of GDP annually.
“It’s because of the far-reaching impact of under-nutrition that the Foundation identified nutrition as a key intervention pillar in order to significantly alter the quality of lives of vulnerable communities,” Absolom said.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said their vision for 2030 as a country is that all children should enjoy services and benefits aimed at facilitating access to nutrition, healthcare, social care and safety.
“Problems such as hunger and malnutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies that affect physical growth and cognitive development, especially among children, should be addressed. We are confident that our partnership with the Foundation will go a long way towards achieving this vision,” Motshekga said.