Sep 18, 2012, updated September 2012
Ecuador shows one of the highest rates of undernourishment in Latin America with 26% in children under 5 years old. In addition, in places like Central Sierra the percentages are similar to those of the poorest countries in Africa.
Undernourishment has consequences that last a lifetime and their effects are irreversible.
The urban public schools do not have nutritional education programs or pedagogic material. One of the crucial problems is the lack of knowledge about healthy feeding.
Healthy Kids is an educational program that promotes Nutrition, Health and Wellness of the children under 12 in public schools.
The Healthy Kid’s Program encourages healthy habits, physical fitness, hygiene, use of nutritive Ecuadorian food according to the local culture and organic gardening.
Nestle incorporates these themes into the nutritional education of Ecuadorian children in the provinces of Imbabura, Pichincha, Chimborazo, and Guayas.
Understanding the value of education and recognizing that education is the only way to guarantee sustainable social changes, the program has focused its efforts on training the school instructors (not just the students directly), through a process of training, empowerment, and dialogue.
The Healthy Kids’ Program team gives training workshops in nutrition, organic gardening, and healthy cooking to the teachers. Later, using what they’ve learned, instructors and faculty members, develop classroom lesson plans and activities for their students.
Teachers motivate students encourage students to improve their health and diet. Teachers use the ludic teaching methodology (one which encourages learning through exploration and experimentation). Teaching materials include games and experiments, helping to engage students in a hands’ on way.
In Ecuador—as is the case in most places around the world—because of a prolific use of harmful agrochemicals, there are high levels of pollution and artificial substances in the food supply. This is a major risk to consumers’ health, especially children.
In response to this growing problem, The Healthy Kids’ Program is promoting a return to the natural, through organic gardening.
Organic gardening is a powerful tool that promotes eating vegetables and fruits while encouraging environmental consciousness. The Healthy Kids’ program gives workshops on organic gardening and how to implement them in educational centres.
Healthy Cooking workshops provide a space to share and learn through experience. By making and tasting dishes made with local Ecuadorian ingredients, participants gain a new appreciation for the country’s food and culinary identity, while at the same time giving participants an opportunity to learn healthy, affordable, and delicious recipes from Nestle’s Nutritional Recipes Cookbook
Amparo Taipe, Director of Primary Education,
Provincial Education Office of Pichincha
“We have enjoyed very close links with Nestle over recent years, mainly in relation to Primary School audiences. The Healthy Kids Program has even been included on curriculums as a required topic to be dealt with, therefore favouring greater responsibility on the part of teachers and parents.”
Fernando Monge, Integral Protection Planning Technician,
“Undernourishment is a very serious problem that exists in the province and the entire country; that’s why the social responsibility work that has been carried out by Nestle is a huge contribution to communities, shared responsibility and coexistence. The technical personnel that have accompanied us in the process have been excellent in dealing with nutrition issues, allowing these results to reflect positively in our province. As the INFA we hope to be able to replicate these initiatives in other areas of Imbabura and take advantage of all of this knowledge in order to promote wellbeing and nutrition.”
Magaly Catucuamba, 7th year primary school student
“The organic gardening is a green space at the school where children can learn about the nutritional benefits of eating home-grown, fresh, healthy and chemical-free foodstuffs. Our organic gardening is a beautiful space where we can grow a variety of vegetables, greens, fruit, medicinal, fruit and ornamental plants. The benefits of our organic gardening are huge, that’s why we held an “open house” inviting other institutions and authorities from the Ministry of Education so that they can also learn about consuming healthy and nutritious foods at really low prices that everyone can buy. We also gave the visitors the message that good nutrition is really important for enjoying good health. For me, working on the organic gardening has been a unique experience because we have been able to teach smaller children about nutrition, health and wellness. Before this we used to eat a lot of junk food which made us ill, but now we eat nutritious and healthy foods at home and at school.”
Value to Society
Since 2008, Healthy Kids has reached directly to 91,581 children and teachers from public schools.
90% of schools verify a change of eating habits through the Healthy Eating Plan measurement tool.
Nestlé provides schools with nutrition knowledge, teaching methods, teaching materials, creating of organic gardening and healthy cooking.
Through 15 cooperation agreements, with the government sector, Healthy Kids has shown that the public – private alliance generate positive impacts on children's nutritional health.
- Execute Healthy Kids in the central provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Bolivar, areas with high rates of undernourishment.
- Promote more strongly physical activity through plays and traditional Ecuadorian dances.
- Develop a food guide for children under five years, aimed to communitarian mothers of childcare centres.
- Publication of storybook about feeding, focus on cultural identity.
Value to Nestlé