If children are the future, then Zambia’s future looks orange-ly bright! Three months ago, more than 1,000 students from four schools in the country’s Kafue District gathered for the launch of the first Vitamin A Maize (corn) School Competition. The participating schools were selected by the Ministry of Education in partnership with HarvestPlus. Each school planted one hectare of vitamin A "orange" maize; the school with the biggest harvest will be the winner of the competition.
“It is important to ensure that our children who come to school, who are the future leaders of our district and our country, have the right nutrition. Vitamin A maize can provide that,” says Joseph Kamana, the Kafue District Commissioner.
A key component of HarvestPlus’ consumer campaign in Zambia is to include primary school children in the dialogue around health and nutrition. Thankfully, teachers in participating schools see the need for such a campaign.
“We have planted maize in our school before, but not this type with vitamin A. This competition will give the children a chance to taste maize that has extra benefits,” says schoolteacher Mary Fundza.
Through the use of edutainment, competitions, and age-appropriate messaging, the competition will teach schoolchildren about hidden hunger, and the benefits and sources of vitamin A. The campaign theme is Add Color to Your Health.
With the growing season coming to an end, we look forward to the competition’s judging phase, which will include counting of vitamin A maize cobs produced by each participating school, in a few weeks. Stay tuned for Part Two, where the winning school will be announced. In the meantime, enjoy photos from the campaign in the slideshow below.
**The author is the regional Market Development Manager for HarvestPlus in Africa