Many countries in Africa are on the rise, but one thing that is setting them back is their inability to attain essential nutrients. Children in Ghana are going to school and becoming educated, but the fact that they are not eating properly and that they lack adequate food supply makes it difficult for them to focus on learning. For a country that is growing, it is crucial that the youth be educated and healthy so that they can carry the country into the future.
The Hershey Co., today, June 23, 2015, announced an innovative partnership with the Ghana School Feeding Programme and Project Peanut Butter to provide supplemental nutrition to school children in Ghana.
Ghana is one of the strongest emerging countries in Africa. However, access to basic nutrition is still a challenge, with about 30,000 children suffering from malnutrition annually, according to Project Peanut Butter. Through Energize Learning, Hershey will distribute Vivi, a highly nutritious peanut-based supplement, to children through the Ghanaian school feeding program.
“At Hershey, we believe that bright futures start with basic nutrition,” said John Bilbrey, chairman and CEO of The Hershey Co. “Energize Learning will harness our strongest assets – our employees and our food expertise – to provide children in Ghana with the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow. Through this partnership, it’s our hope that children can make the most of their education and focus on their studies, rather than their stomachs.”
The Vivi supplement, produced in the Hershey-funded Project Peanut Butter factory in Kumasi, Ghana, has been found to increase the daily caloric intake for hungry children by 25% . Distribution will initially be prioritized to school feeding programs in the vicinity of the Kumasi factory and in the northern region of Ghana, where child malnutrition rates are highest. The program aims to reach 50,000 school children by 2016.
As part of Energize Learning, Hershey employees are sharing their expertise with local farmers to increase productivity and expand Ghana’s peanut crop – a critical component of Vivi – for the long-term.
“Our partnership with Hershey addresses a great social need and will positively impact Ghana’s local economy by supporting both our school children and the livelihoods of our small holder farmers,” said Hon. Seidu Paakuna Adamu, national coordinator, Ghana School Feeding Programme.
“This social innovation program is an example of how private, public and non-profit partners can work together to have a positive impact on the lives of children, farmers and their families in Ghana,” said Carly Edwards, country director, Project Peanut Butter Ghana.
Hershey also is working with the University of Ghana to evaluate and analyze the outcome of Energize Learning over the next two years. The company hopes to eventually expand the program to reach all children in Ghana’s school feeding program.
Hershey’s commitment to improving the lives of children dates back to the 1909 creation of the Milton Hershey School, which offers a private education to socially and economically-eligible students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Energize Learning is part of Hershey’s holistic commitment to helping children in need across the globe build bright futures and lead successful lives.