If you have ever been hungry, you will know how profoundly it affects your ability to think and work. It is no wonder that hunger and malnutrition is hailed as two of the greatest barriers to effective learning in South Africa’s poor communities. A newly established programme in the Lowveld region of Mpumalanga, however, is cause for hope for improved educational outcomes. Joint Aid Management South Africa (JAM) is joining forces with Penreach and Ntataise Lowveld Trust to feed almost 3000 children between the ages of 1 and 6 years.
JAM Int provides nutrient-rich meals to over one million young children in Angola, South Africa, South Sudan and Mozambique. These school feeding programmes are primarily focused on improving the wellbeing of each child, while promoting and enhancing school attendance and education.
JAM’s pre-cooked nutritionally dense porridge was delivered to 77 Early Childhood Development Centres and 38 playgroups coordinated by Penreach and Ntataise Lowveld programmes in February.
Some interesting facts regarding nutrition in South Africa
1 in 4 children face hunger on a daily basis
15% of babies born in SA are below the normal average birth weight
25% of children under 5 suffer from stunting
By age 5 the outcomes of nutritional deprivation may be irreversible
“Young children learn through play and they play most of the day. By providing adequate nutrition they will have the energy to learn,” explains Penreach’s Director of Early Childhood Development, Ms Thulile Makofane. According to Andisiwe Gcali of JAM the porridge they provide (called CSS+) provides 75% of the nutrients that a child should receive on a daily basis. This increase in nutrition enables children from poor communities to perform on par with their more affluent peers and prepares them for formal schooling, says Ms Tseli Scharer, Director of Ntataise Lowveld. Makofane adds, “I believe this kind of collaboration will open up the way for more partnerships that can offer better health and social services to all the children of the region.”
This initiative forms part of the KFC Add Hope Foundation. By adding R2 to your purchases at any KFC franchise outlet, you contribute toward ensuring that a child receives a balanced meal each school day.
Photo caption: Overjoyed at the prospect of optimal nutrition for 3000 young children are (left to right) Andile Ncontsa (CEO Penreach), Tseli Scharer (Director of Ntataise Lowveld), Martyn Newton Foot (Operation Manager of JAM South Africa), Tumi Moalafi (Regional coordinator JAM South Africa) and David Brown (Managing director JAM South Africa).