Nestlé Wellness Campus recently marked the 10th year of its nutrition advocacy program, by turning over a water filtration system, audio-video equipment and sanitation supplies to 10 public schools across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The donation is a testament to the program’s commitment to help educate and promote health and wellness practices among young students and their families.
As part of its milestone celebration, Nestlé Wellness Campus inspired the employees of Nestlé Philippines to organize a voluntary fund-raising activity. The company then matched the amount pledged by employees and the fund was allocated to benefit 10 schools, namely Palumbanes Integrated School in Palumbanes Island and Tibo Elementary School in Panganiban, both located in Catanduanes; Tablon Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro; Luyungan High School in Bukidnon; Buhangin Central Elementary School SpEd Center and Davao City Special School in Davao; Niugan Elementary School and Pittland Elementary School in Cabuyao, Laguna; and Pinagtong Ulan Elementary School in Lipa, Batangas and Ulango Integrated School in Tanauan, Batangas.
“We atNestlé Philippines recognize the importance of educating Filipinos about proper nutrition, especially at a young age. That has been the focus of the Nestlé Wellness Campus for the past 10 years and we are overwhelmed by the support of our employees in ensuring that our public schools have the right tools, supplies and support to accomplish that,” said Jose Uy III, Senior Vice President and Head of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability at Nestlé Philippines.
It starts with access to clean water
In the most recent Expanded National Nutrition Survey, the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute reported that undernutrition remains prevalent in rural areas and low-income households in the Philippines.
For Efren Matienzo, Jr., principal at the Palumbanes Integrated School in Catanduanes, this was evident among the students in the remote island community. When he was assigned to the school at the height of the pandemic in 2020, he found a TV documentary that labeled the island as “Islang Salat.”
“According to that documentary, malnutrition was prevalent in the island and one of its causes was the lack of clean water supply,” Matienzo explained. He added that the school was below the Department of Education’s standards when it came to hygiene, water sanitation, among others. There was also no water source within the Palumbanes Island that passed the requirements of the Rural Health Unit. This became a concern for Matienzo, who recognized the long-term effect of this problem to the student’s cognitive function and overall ability to learn and perform in school.
As such, Matienzo implemented the Nestlé Wellness Campus and emphasized the need to educate all students – from Kindergarten to Grade 12 – about the seven healthy habits. He then prioritized efforts to secure a water filtration system for the school and local community, which the Nestlé Wellness Campus recently turned over to their school.
“All our 550 students will now be able to drink clean water,” he said, adding that in addition to the students, more than 130 households will also directly benefit from the project once it’s operational. “As I would always tell our teachers, yung pagod natin, hindi nasayang. We must give them everything that we can because the students deserve it.”
The right educational tools make all the difference
It was also the students that inspired the principal of Tibo Elementary School to aim for more.
Located in the mountains of Catanduanes, Tibo Elementary School did not have audio and visual (AV) equipment. Teaching tools were limited and outdated, and this was affecting the students’ attendance rates and eagerness to learn. As principal, Arnel Fernandez knew that the school, teachers, parents and the entire community needed to adapt a modern way of teaching and learning to give the students a brighter future.
When Nestlé Philippines, through the Nestlé Wellness Campus, awarded Tibo Elementary School with an AV package, Fernandez was overjoyed.
“The equipment can help us in many aspects. First, in the students’ day-to-day learning. We only had to do with the traditional way of teaching before. Today, all our Grade 1 students are learning how to read with the help of the TV sets,” Fernandez explained.
In addition, they now have a sound system for the flag ceremony and Nestlé Wellness Campus dancercise activity every morning. According to Fernandez, the students are able to watch the steps through a monitor and dance together and in sync, which they were not able to do before.
“Hindi ko maipaliwanag pero ramdam ko yung impact sa mga bata. Napakasaya na mabigyan ng pagkakataon yung mga bata na hindi naman natin kaano-ano na ma-experience nila yung hindi nila na-experience before. Yung tuwa ng mga bata, walang katumbas na kabayaran,” he shared.
Fernandez added that they are also able to use the equipment to educate the parents and the rest of the community about the healthy habits of the Nestlé Wellness Campus. By conducting monthly meetings with the parents, barangay officials, health officials and other stakeholders in Tibo, they will be able to further implement health and wellness practices together and create a bigger impact.
Aside from Palumbanes Integrated School and Tibo Elementary School, Nestlé Wellness Campus also provided sanitation supplies such as alcohol, soap for handwashing, and face masks to eight other public schools as they welcomed back students for face-to-face classes. Last school year, Nestlé Philippines also donated learning equipment for Special Education students in the National Capital Region and Region IV-A.