As part of its commitment to Nutrition, Health and Wellness, Nestlé became the main sponsor of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Kids’ Athletics programme, which is one of the biggest grassroots development programmes in the world of sports.
The initiative, to be jointly implemented in the country with Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), aims to encourage school children aged 7 – 12 years to develop positive physical, health and social skills by engaging in sporting activities while, at the same time, enhancing the development of future athletes.
The programme will be launched at the Accra Sports Stadium on Friday, November 22, 2013, supported by three Ministries - the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, with the Ghana Education Service serving as a collaborating partner.
Benefits for school Kids in Ghana and Nigeria
When implemented, the Kids’ Athletics programme will help introduce children to athletics at the basic education level. Ghana and Nigeria are so far the only countries in the Central and West Africa Region implementing the programme. In Nigeria, the training of Athletics coaches is already underway, and this will be expanded to reach the over 200,000 school kids targeted for 2013/14.
Over 200,000 primary school pupils in Accra, Bolgatanga, Cape Coast, Ho, Koforidua, Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale, Takoradi, and Wa will benefit from the 4-year initiative within its first year. In addition, there will be a training programme for twenty-four (24) Kids’ Athletics lecturers/instructors and 576 athletics coaches to be conducted between 2013 and 2014 by in-country IAAF certified experts.
Strengthening the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme
Aside effecting a landmark investment in sports development, it will further complement the company’s Healthy Kids programme, the global initiative, which promotes nutrition education, a balanced dieting, greater physical activity and a healthy lifestyle to children between the ages of six and 12.
In Ghana, the Healthy Kids Global Programme was launched in 2011 and has, so far, reached more than 4,000 pupils between the ages of six and 12 in the Agona East and Juaboso districts in Central and Western Regions, with expansion to the Ashanti, Eastern and Northern regions by the end of November this year, bringing the cumulative figure to 10, 000.
"Nestlé Ghana is pleased to have entered into partnership with the Ghana Athletics Association to promote the development of grassroots sports in the country," said Moataz El Hout, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana.
Nestlé will provide financial support for the GAA through IAAF to train athletics coaches and lecturers with the aim of eventually reaching a larger number of children in existing or new markets.
The GAA was chosen as the implementer because of the association’s role in promoting the development of athletics in Ghanaian schools.
President of the GAA, Prof. Francis Dodoo, is upbeat about the programme and underscores Nestlé’s support for it.
"Ghana Athletics Association’s goal/mandate is to develop a pipeline of next-generation athletes. Naturally, the process of development must begin in the chronological grassroots; that is, the young boys and girls who will be the beneficiaries of the Nestlé/IAAF Kids Athletics program. GAA is thankful for the partnership with Nestlé, IAAF, Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Government for making this program possible."