The introduction of one egg per day in Nigerian schools has yielded tremendous health and academic benefits among pupils in Nigeria.
The project, which is sponsored by OneEgg Nigeria, in partnership with OneEgg USA, ensures that each child in schools in the rural area eats an egg daily in school to boost the protein needs in the body for growth and mental alertness.
According to the organization, the goal of one egg is to change the world with one egg at a time.
When this reporter visited St. Mary’s Catholic School, Okon, in Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State where OneEgg Nigeria project is observed, he observed that pupils in the school were looking healthy and happier in classroom as they also expressed high level of intelligence and self-confidence while interacting with this reporter.
For Abasiama Michael Essien, a primary six pupil, eating one egg every day in school was the best thing that ever happened to her. She expressed gratitude to the sponsors of the project.
Another pupil in primary five said sometimes, she took the egg home from school to share with his siblings who are in other schools.
“Sometimes I eat the egg in school, sometimes I take it home to enjoy with my brothers and sisters,” she remarked.
Another pupil said she never failed coming to school every day so that she will not miss one egg a day.
Also, another one stated that when he eats the egg in school, it gives him the needed energy and strength to study while in school and also sustain him till school dismisses for the day.
The children all expressed gratitude to the sponsors of the project and to Etido Jerome, who directs Xavier University, USA campus ministry, for the gesture, praying God to bless them.
Speaking, the Deputy Headmistress of the school, Mrs. Catherine Etim Willie stated that the project One-Egg Nigeria is a blessing to Nigerian children, as it has given the children hope of a better future.
She said that the programme does not only help to boost the children’s academic and health performances but has also saved the lives of some children who were malnourished because the parents could not afford to provide balanced diet requirement for their growth and brain development.
“As you can see, the children are always happy and very smart because when they come to school, they are sure of eating one egg.
“Some of them will not even wait to eat at home but will rush to school because they are sure to eat one egg for the day in school.
“These children just as their counter parts in the rural communities were in dire need of protein to balance their food nutrient,” she observed.
Mrs. Ukeme, the class teacher of primary four, posited that the one egg project has made their work easy in the classroom during teaching, noting that it was very difficult to teach children who were hungry right from home, “They were always weak, worn-out and lack concentration in class most of the times, so teaching such children was very difficult but now teaching and learning is more like fun because the children are motivated with the one egg-a-day project,” she said.
Mr. Edidiong Udoette, a primary two class teacher, stated that the children are becoming brighter and clever in answering questions and participating in class activities.
On how the compound is kept neat and tidy after peeling and eating the egg, the teachers averred that the children have been taught to have a sense of responsibility, by so doing, they take the responsibility of sweeping the school compound at least twice in a day.
This reporter also spoke with Mr. Samuel Jerome who prepares the egg and supplies them to the school. He said he prepares and supplies 250 eggs every day to the school.
This reporter also observed that the egg supplied to the school that day were enough to go round the pupils who ate with satisfaction.
When asked how he feels about preparing the egg for the children every day, Mr. Jerome expressed delight for the opportunity to serve the community in that capacity, expressing hope for a brighter and better future.
A community leader from Ikot Idem Udo, Chief Anthony X. Ekutt commended the sponsors of the project “One Egg” in Nigeria, describing it as a sign of good thing to come to the community nay Nigeria.
He posited that the community has bright and intelligent children but because of poor economic situation of the country, some of their parents cannot afford to provide them with balanced diet to make them strong and mentally alert.
While commending the donors for considering the school among others in Nigeria, Ekutt solicited the support of One-Egg Nigeria to alleviate poverty in the community by giving grant to the women in the community to start up small-scale businesses that will help them take care of their children.
According to the Country Representative, One-Egg Nigeria, Dr. Nsikakabasi Udofia, the programme which is committed to providing one egg to the most vulnerable children in the rural area in Nigeria per day in school is to encourage learning and promote good health.
Udofia noted that One Egg project started in Rwanda, Africa and is currently in 11 countries in the world including Nigeria.
The University Don further stated that the project which started in Nigeria in 2018 has since impacted positively in pupils’ health and academic performances, even as he solicited support from well-meaning individuals to donate to One-Egg Nigeria so that the programme can succeed in country.
Udofia noted that one-egg initiative targets malnourished children in the rural communities in Nigeria and charged the federal government of Nigeria to adopt one egg template to improve on the social investment programme.
He said that the project does not only impact on the health of the children but is also a source of inspiration to them as they now have a sense of belonging to the global community which will spur them to higher academic attainment.
On why the programme was introduced in only one school in Nigeria, Udofia stated that there are plans to expand the programme to schools in other local government areas in Akwa Ibom and other states in Nigeria.
He commended Etido Jerome for facilitating the introduction of the programme in Nigeria and providing other learning materials to the pupils to support the one egg project.
He further stated that so far, the programme is succeeding in Nigeria as the impact is already being felt by the people in the community.
On the challenges faced so far, Udofia mentioned poor access road to the community and called on government to intervene by constructing the road leading to the village for more development to come into the community.
Udofia also expressed the need to upgrade structures in the school in order for the pupils to learn in a conducive environment, stressing the need for good facilities in the school to complement the one egg initiative.
“If facilities in the school are upgraded, it will really boost the morale of the pupils and also promote their performances academically.
“If the children eat one egg daily and also sit in a conducive environment to learn it will go a long way in inspiring them and also promoting mental alertness”.
“Etido Jerome has done well so far by providing seats and a set of band for the children, so if government intervene it will really help because the children are growing faster every day because of one egg,” Udofia remarked.