An appeal has been made for more Corporate organisations and well to do individuals to join the fight against acute malnutrition in the country
Statistics from UNICEF Nigeria show that as a result of acute malnutrition, the country has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 32 percent of children under five.
The President and founder of a nongovernmental organization, the Lagos Food bank, Mr Michael Sunbola made the call during the unveiling of a partnership between the NGO and Nutzy peanut butter, tagged “Buy a jar, feed a child campaign” aimed at treating malnutrition among pregnant, lactating mothers and children .
“The partnership is very critical to two of our programmes: ‘the nutrition and school feeding programmes’. The school feeding programme is the one where we target children in low cost private schools, these are not the typical private schools for the elite; but schools where the parent pay fifty to one hundred naira per day as school fees and we identify these schools in different parts of Lagos and feed them three time a week”
Mr Sunbola who said over one point eight million vulnerable people have benefitted from the Food bank initiatives, noted that with the latest partnership, more malnourished children, especially those between three to eight years in nursery and primary schools would be reached.
He pointed out that in addition to donating foods and other resources, philanthropic Nigerians could also volunteer to pack donated items and help to distribute such to the vulnerable.
Mr Sunbola said he founded the Lagos Food bank in 2015 having been a victim of malnutrition while growing up.
“I was among those who suffered food insecurity while growing up, I went to school several times on empty stomach, my family was the ordinary average family, so, I know what it feels like to not have food in your tummy, go to school hungry and also go to bed hungry”
The Head, Corporate Social Responsibility of Airena Foods, Mrs Serena Ramnani, said her company decided to partner the Food Bank because as a locally based entity, it couldn’t look away from issues affecting a large number of people, especially children who are the most vulnerable.
“We recognize the role peanut butter play in treating malnutrition, and because we don’t not have the platform to reach a large number of those affected, we decided to partner with the Lagos Food Bank, which already have programmes treating malnutrition and we felt fully confident that they are the right partner to donate our product to”
She said for every jar sold, a sachet of the product will be donated to the Food bank
Mrs Ramnani said that even though Nigeria is the largest producer of peanuts, otherwise known as groundnuts in Africa, Nigerians eats only imported peanut butter prior to 2014 when her company took the initiative to start local production.