According to the National Nutrition and Health Survey (2018), Nigeria has the second-highest burden of stunted children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 32 percent of children under five. Malnutrition and illness, amongst other factors, have also been linked to children’s inability to learn well in school (World Development Report, 2018). About 60 million Nigerian children are reported to be in school but not learning.
Poor nutrition, unhealthy environment and lack of nurture have long-lasting effects on overall child development, brain development, and learning. Malnutrition, especially stunting, islinked to poor cognitive development, a lowered performance in education and low productivity in adulthood.
If a child is hungry and malnourished, school-level interventions that affect the teaching-learning process are unlikely to have much impact. Children need to have good nutritional status and be healthy for deep and continuous learning to occur, hence the need to provide sustainable and healthy nutrition for all children in school.
World Bank Report on Education (2018) points out that tackling hunger and malnutrition is one of the solutions to achieve better learning. We also share in this belief, while even thinking broader. For us, providing sustainable and healthy food for all while striking a balance between food and its environmental impact, is also crucial.
Our programme model is designed to provide healthy meals to meet the nutritional requirements of school children, enhance their overall health, improve learning outcomes, promote sustainable agriculture and achieve a cleaner environment.
Affordable access to sustainable and healthy school meals will have positive effects on students’ nutritional status by tackling hunger and malnutrition in all forms. It will aid healthy brain and physical development and increase learning through improved concentration and energy supply.
Wastes For Meals school feeding programme will provide improved and affordable access to healthy, nutritious and safe meals by allowing school children to pay for their meals with equivalent recyclables such as bottles, cans, and cartons.
Not only that, but it will also ensure that the menu provides sustainable diets to meet the nutritional requirements of school children, explore food supply chains from local farmers and partner with recycling companies who will buy back the collated wastes.
This programme willalso promote and preserve a healthier environment, and reduce food waste.