Last Social Activities
Walkerville is situated within the Sedibeng district of the Gauteng province. It is a small village about 30 Km (20 miles) south of Johannesburg, the provincial capital of Gauteng and the largest city in South Africa.
Midvaal municipality, where Walkerville is located, has a very low population density (about 65 inhabitants/km² vs. Johannesburg’s 2,900 inhabitants/km²) and hosts several rural/peri-urban primary schools.
In many emerging countries (i.e. not only in South Africa) rural schools generally face rather more serious challenges than urban schools. They have more difficulties in accessing adequate financial resources from their central administrations. Their pupils often need to cover long distances to attend classes, having limited access – or no access at all - to public means of transportation. Better qualified teachers tend to prefer schools in urban areas where: living conditions and access to professional opportunities tend to be better; pupils’ drop-out rates tend to be lower and attendance rates higher; classes tend to be less over-crowded and attended by same age-group children.
As a result of the above, in 2019 the Michele Ferrero Entrepreneurial Project in South Africa decided to support the construction of a sports center at the Laerskool De Deur primary school, situated in a peri-urban area about 12 km far from the Ferrero plant. More than a third of its over 1,300 pupils benefit from the National School Nutrition Program that provides one nutritious meal to pupils of destitute families.
The school was equipped with basic sport facilities that were upgraded into a proper sports center. Such facility now disposes of a football field equipped with a new modern irrigation system; bleachers covered with canopies and a changing room with showers and toilets for the pupils.
The project was designed and implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, its district representatives and the active support of Laerskool De Deur senior management.
The new sports facility will be made accessible also to other four rural schools located in the neighborhoods – catering for over 4,000 pupils – that, at present, do not dispose of proper sports facilities.
The importance of promoting sport activities in South African rural primary schools should not be underestimated, in a country where, according to recent surveys, only about 50 % of children get enough physical activity and where obesity levels of children and adolescents have reached critical levels.
The World Health Organisztion (WHO) reports in fact the fastest growth of obesity in the African region, where childhood overweight and obesity has more than doubled from 1990 to 2013. The population group that is most vulnerable to this ‘obesogenic’ environment is children. Both children of overweight parents and children subjected to malnutrition during pregnancy or infancy are likely to become obese later in life. It is estimated that if obesity in South African children continues to increase at the current rate, 3.91 million school children will be overweight or obese by 2025.
It is thus clear that the problem only gets worse as children get older. Preventing childhood obesity is therefore not only about improving children’s health, which is an essential goal on its own. It is also related to preventing obesity, ill-health, and premature deaths among adults.
The construction of a sports center at the Laerskool De Deur primary school will provide a good stepping stone opportunity also to promote Ferrero Kinder Joy of Moving’s methodology at local schools. In fact, the aim of this global Ferrero CSR project is to encourage younger generations to embrace an active lifestyle. Its methodology aims to get children moving, through play whilst also developing key skills in four major areas: physical fitness, motor coordination, cognitive function and creativity, life skills. By so doing, it shifts the focus from performance to fun, from competition to collaboration.
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the inauguration of the Laerskool De Deur sports center had to be postponed to 2021, and it will be implemented as soon as health conditions in the country will allow it.