Covid-19 has been one of the biggest disruptors of 2020 leading to complete closure of schools across most part of the world. The world is currently experiencing a global pandemic and it has transformed life as we know it. Schools are closed until further notice; families are confined to their homes and parents have been seeking out educational opportunities for their children. Given this context, there was a need to engage with children whilst giving them the opportunity to learn about important topics such as nutrition. Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) essay writing contest is an initiative taken to engage children in an educational activity during the pandemic.

There were three essay topics of the competition; ‘POOR HYGIENE MAY INVITE MANY DISEASES’, ‘SIGNIFICANCE OF IMMUNE SYSTEM’, and ‘I HAVE TO STAY AT HOME BECAUSE OF SOME WIDESPREAD COMMUNICABLE DISEASE. I MUST PRACTICE SELF-CARE THROUGH HEALTHY AND STRESS REDUCTION ACTIVITIES.’

These essay topics were designed to inspire students to understand and educate themselves on the pertinent issues. The contest helped children reflect constructively on what is happening in their lives and form new ideas and provided great opportunity for children to practice writing for an audience and receive recognition for their talents.

Initially this essay competition was only geared towards children residing in Pakistan however, technology-facilitated in overcoming geographical barriers and we received entries from Philippines, Qatar, Jordan, UAE and United States. The contest was a great success as children not only had a productive use of their time, but they also got an exceptional platform to demonstrate their critical thinking and writing skills. It allowed students to spend their quarantine time in effective and learning environment. The N4HK writing contest helped parents in keeping children engaged while provoking thoughtful family conversations. The aim of this activity was to foster positivity amongst our children by educating themselves on how they can strengthen their bodies to fight off the virus by giving voice to their views and sparking creativity.

Alongside this, through the vast level of this event, participants expressed themselves critically and analyzed such important topics. This helped the children to broaden the scope of their knowledge and learned to improve their writing skills through an academic setting. This activity instilled in the young participants a sense of healthy competition at a grand scale, and hence harnessed their own sense of excellence and achievement. All these qualities are highly critical to academic success, and the competition was successful in providing the perfect window for it.

The second major benefit this competition served to the students was raising awareness on importance of nutrition and stress management during these unprecedented times. Hence, participants, while doing research on these topics for their essay, got the chance to look into and read up on concerning issues; such as practicing good hygiene habits to prevent infectious diseases, its importance for promoting good health and how handwashing is especially critical in reducing the spread of diseases. Other important facts they learnt are, role of nutrition and healthy food choices to boost immunity and overcome diseases and managing stress through creativities and healthy activities during this pandemic. The essays were an opportunity for the children to showcase their understanding of what is going on around them whilst, equipping them with knowledge to tackle the current situation.

The competition was geared towards two age groups (10-12 years and 13-16 years) in each essay category. One winner and one runner-up were selected from each age group. The children submitted their 350-400 words essays to N4HK panel of judges via email. The winners were selected based on how well their essays showed a deep and thorough understanding of the topic clarity in the theme, and ability to convey their points in exceptional writing.

The winners and runners up are:

Essay Category Age Group A (10-12) years Age Group B (13-16) years
Essay Category I Winner: Mariyaan Ali Imran

Runner Up: Hana Nadeem

 

Winner: Zainab Waheed

Runner Up: Eeman Fatima

 

Essay Category II Winner: Fareeha Salman

Runner Up: Ahad Yunus Chohan

Winner: Shanzay Khan

Runner Up: Salik Shoaib

Essay Category III Winner: Ahmad Inam

Runner Up: Muhammad Saad Saboor

Winner: Myra Aman

Runner Up: Maha Faisal

We would like to congratulate the winners, who will be awarded certificates and their entries have been published on Nestlé Pakistan’s website here: bit.ly/31yoYwc. Runners-ups will receive certificate of recognition and first 100 entries will receive certificate of participation.

Nestlé for Healthier Kids program (N4HK) launched in 2010 by Nestlé, is a comprehensive program which educates parents, teachers and caregivers to induce healthy lifestyle among school going children. So far, the program has reached out to about 220,000 children and 1,100 teachers and aims to reach out to more than 300,000 children by 2022.

Nestlé for Healthier Kids program (N4HK) is also committed to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 of Good Health and Well-Being, to ensure that children understand the value of nutrition and physical activity and continue leading healthy lives, as they grow older. Nestlé for Healthier Kids makes a collective effort with its partners to help address and overcome the nutrition challenge to give the children a happier and healthier future.