In an effort to tackle the issue of poor nutrition, which holds children back from reaching their full potential at school, Blue Band has unveiled its commitment in an initiative dubbed ‘’The Good Breakfast initiative.”
The announcement comes in the wake of a new report which links a nutritious breakfast to better long term school performance in children. The consumption of a nutritious breakfast gives children the essential energy and nutrients they need to grow, develop, and reach their full potential at school and in adult life. The opposite is seen when children skip their breakfast. Their rapid growth rates and importance of their cognitive function for academic achievement underlie in their optimal nutrition that is mostly based in their breakfast intake.
Prof Judith Kimiye from Kenyatta University, who spoke during the launch of the Blue Band nutritious breakfast initiative said, “You can clearly see students’ concentration and energy levels increase when they start their day with a nutritious breakfast. It’s absolutely vital to send this nourishment to the brain after a night of fasting. We see that poor nutrition in children has a knock-on effect; adults who were malnourished as children earn less on average throughout their lifetime than those who benefitted from a proper breakfast.”
Blue Band is on a mission to make a nutritious breakfast an everyday reality for half a billion school children in Africa by making it readily available, affordable and desirable. Fortified with vitamins and Omegas, Blue Band, in combination with bread or porridge, fruit, and tea with milk, gives children the nutritious start they need to kick start their day.
‘Good fats’, such as Omega 3 and 6 and Vitamin A, are recognised worldwide as being an essential part of the nutritious breakfast formula. The new Blue Band spread, made from locally sourced rapeseed, contains both Omegas 3 and 6, and is fortified with minerals such as vitamin A. A recently conducted national survey revealed that 1 child out of 2 children in Kenya go to school with just a cup of tea for breakfast. This reduces their concentration and energy levels for the school day, and without essential nutrients like Vitamin A and Omegas 3 and 6 – our children are left vulnerable to infection and illness which can lead to missed school days.
It is vital that all children start their day with a nutritious breakfast in order for their minds and bodies to grow. Unfortunately, malnutrition rates are critical in Kenya to the extent that in some districts, a quarter of all children are acutely malnourished while 9 out of 10 children from poor households fail to complete their basic education, according to the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey report.
Kenyan marathon runner, David Rudisha, who is also the official ambassador for the Good Breakfast Challenge, knows only too well the impact his nutrition has had on making him the success he is today; “My mother always made sure that I never left the house without a healthy breakfast. Proper nutrition is an absolute priority, without a doubt it’s what has given me the critical spurt to compete on the global stage.”
World Bank statistics also show that treating a severely malnourished child is more costly than feeding children properly at a young age. The cost of treating a malnourished child is over 200 dollars while the cost of giving them these much required nutrients and vitamins costs less than a dollar.
In a 2016 Nutrition Survey conducted by TNS Kenya, 1 in 10 women cannot afford to provide their children breakfast daily while half of mothers whose children skip breakfast are unable to provide it due to due to costs. Also, mothers who can’t afford to provide daily breakfasts are twice as likely to give their children tea without milk. With this in mind, there is a plan to sustainably ensure the availability of Blue Band sachets in the market for as little as Kshs 5 especially to those living in low-income areas so as to ensure that even in harsh financial conditions, mothers can still be able to afford a nutritious breakfast for their children.
In addition, Blue Band will also launch the Blue Band Good Breakfast Challenge in schools in conjunction with the Ministry of Education in May this year. The challenge aims to establish and promote nutritious eating habits in schools and help students achieve healthier lives, better school performance and a more promising start to life.
The Blue Band social mission takes a holistic approach. Its commitment to providing children with nutritious breakfasts is part of a wider ‘food and farm’ strategy. ‘Food’ educates children and their parents on the importance of a healthy breakfast and ‘Farm’ represents Blue Band’s local, sustainable sourcing of rapeseed oil to support development of the local economy.
Sauti Sol, the award winning group who recently their third album: Live and Die in Afrika released a national song on good breakfast in partnership with Unilever Kenya. The song Higher-Haiya is a power packed song that had the school children who were present for the launch dancing to the tunes of the song, advocates for a good breakfast just like the breakfast prepared for champions. After all we are what we eat for breakfast and a good day starts in the morning.
With a good breakfast, anything is possible.