By Vivian Ihechu
Nestlé Nigeria on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME) Trust Fund to institute a “Nestlé Prize for Nutrition Reporting’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aim of the partnership endorsed by the Nigeria Union of Journalists. (NUJ) is to empower media professionals in the area of nutrition and health reporting.
It will also recognise, reward and celebrate excellence among nutrition and health writers.
The DAME is the only award scheme in Nigeria that covers the media disciplines of Journalism, Broadcasting and Advertising.
Founded upon the ideals that the media is the watchdog of the society, as well as the fourth estate of the realm, DAME exists to celebrate and reward superior performance in the fulfilment of such pivotal roles.
The sponsorship of a Nestlé Prize for Nutrition Reporting in DAME is another step in Nestlé Nigeria’s continuous collaboration with stakeholders and partners to provide adequate research-based information to help people make healthier food choices.
Nestlé recognises the key role the media has to play in achieving this objective.
Signing the MoU at its headquarter in Lagos, the company explained that it had instituted the Prize in collaboration with DAME to empower media professionals in nutrition and health reporting.
The company’s Managing Director, Mr Mauricio Alarcon said that it was important to create sustained awareness to improve health indices in the face of the current challenges associated with the triple burden of nutrition — undernutrition, over-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiency in Nigeria.
Alarcon said that that the company was committed to promoting healthy nutrition habits.
“Nestle believes that promoting healthy nutrition habits, as well as improving access to nutritious food will have a positive impact on Nigeria’s health profile.
“We strongly believe that when provided with adequate information and training, the media plays a key role in raising awareness of key nutrition, health and wellness issues among stakeholders and the public.
“Armed with fact-based information, individuals and families are empowered to make healthier nutrition choices.
“We are confident that this partnership will provide a good platform to equip journalists with training and capacity building opportunities to help them perform at optimal capacity,’’ Alarcon said.
The Trustee of DAME, Mr Lanre Idowu, said: “We are very happy to have Nestle Prize for Nutrition Reporting on the list of categories for the 27th edition of the prestigious media wards.
“This will encourage and give the much needed attention and recognition to exceptional nutrition writers and stimulate interest in nutrition writing,’’ Idowu said.
The Chairman, NUJ Lagos State Council, Dr Qasim Akinreti, commended Nestlé Nigeria for sponsoring the nutrition category to fill the gap in that area.
“We appreciate Nestlé Nigeria for this collaboration in a Nestle Prize for Nutrition Reporting.
“This award will not only motivate our members but will also help us to work toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals which includes health,” he said.
Also, Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) Manager of Nestle, said that the company was committed to enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future by working with partners to empower individuals to make healthier food choices.
According to her, the Nestle Prize for Nutrition would help to achieve the commitment by training and building the capacity of media practitioners in the field.
Contributing, Mrs Chioma Emma-Nwachukwu, Manager, Nestle Nutrition Institute Africa, said the prize was being put in place not only to promote excellence in nutrition reporting but also improve nutrition knowledge, attitude and practices among Nigerians.
The MoU signing was witnessed by the members of executive of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Trustee of DAME.
Nestle Nigeria Plc begam simple trading operations in Nigeria in 1961 and has today grown into a leading food manufacturing and marketing company.
It is the biggest food company in West Africa, employing about 2,200 people and has three world-class factories.
It manufactures and markets a range of high quality brands including: NESTLE PURE LIFE, GOLDEN MORN, MAGGI, CERELAC and NESCAFE.