By Jonathan Eze
In fulfilment of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Nestlé Nigeria has recently refurbished facilities in two primary schools to help create a more conducive environment for teaching and learning in its factory communities.
This is in line with the company’s commitment to improving livelihoods in the communities closest to its operations.
“We believe that the long term success of our business is dependent on nurturing thriving communities closest to our operations,” said Mauricio Alarcon, MD/CEO of Nestlé Nigeria.
“We therefore work with our partners to enhance living conditions in the localities where most of our staff, suppliers and host communities reside. This is one of the ways we ensure that everyone connected to our business derives a benefit. We call this Creating Shared Value.”
The recent handover of the refurbished facilities in two schools close to the company’s Abaji and Flowergate factories underlines its efforts towards impacting its factory communities positively. The two schools, LEA Primary School Manderegi and NUD Primary School, Owode Egba are part of Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK), a school-based nutrition education initiative supported by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Education.
N4HK achieves its objectives by teaching and promoting healthy nutrition, healthy hydration, hygiene and an active lifestyle.
The training and coaching is implemented in collaboration with State Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) in Ogun State and Universal Basic Education Board in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The program is reaching over 17,000 children and 350 teachers in 30 primary schools.
“It would be difficult for children to imbibe healthy nutrition and hygiene practices if the environment is not conducive for putting what they learn into practice,” said Nestlé Nigeria’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Mrs. Victoria Uwadoka.
“It was therefore important to ensure that the children and teachers have access to good classrooms, safe clean water, toilets and hand washing facilities.”
At the handover ceremony of LEA Primary School project which includes a refurbished classroom block, two new blocks of water system toilets, a fully equipped playground, a borehole and two water fetching points in January, the children and teachers expressed their delight with the improvement to their facilities.
“Our classrooms used to have holes in the roof where water leaked in during classes,” said Onyekachi, a pupil of LEA Primary School. “We put buckets under the leaking roof to prevent flooding. Sometimes we used the water to wash our hands. We are very happy to have new toilets and water because, before we had to go to the bush to ease ourselves. We are very, very happy with Nestlé. We thank you.”
Also commenting at the event, Hajiya Hadiza Abdullahi Umar, Head of Department at Abaji Area Education Council, said, “I am overwhelmed and extremely pleased with the improvements Nestlé has made to LEA Primary School facilities. Previously, the children needed to be cajoled to come to school. This improvement has not only changed the school’s outlook but has made learning a more enjoyable experience”.
The NUD Primary School project, which includes a refurbished classroom block, two new water system toilet facilities, and a borehole with water fetching bays, and a fully furnished playground inaugurated in March.
In his welcome address at the handover ceremony, Mr. K. I. Keefa, Head Teacher of NUD Primary school said, “This great project has contributed immensely to the overall development of education in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area as our school has been transformed into a standard and model primary school in the community. This project has also provided a befitting and conducive learning environment for our teachers and learners.”
The Executive Chairman, Ogun SUBEB, Alhaji Olatunde Okewole urged the beneficiaries of the projects to appreciate Nestlé Nigeria’s laudable gesture by utilizing the facilities judiciously and ensure that they are secured and preserved for continuous use.