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Scots pupils get fit to help children around the world

20/01/2016
Sport and physical activity
First launch of Unicef Kid Power project outside of USA.

Pupils from 25 schools across Scotland are banding together for the next month to support malnourished children in Malawi and Pakistan.

The Scottish Government is supporting the Unicef Kid Power pilot, which will see approximately 1,000 P6 children across Scotland given a Unicef Kid Power fitness band to monitor their daily levels of exercise.

The initiative encourages children to get active whilst helping to transform the lives of other children around the world. Children are awarded points for the steps they take and these points are then converted into funding, which is used by Unicef to help buy life-saving food for malnourished children in Malawi and Pakistan. Scotland is the first country to participate in the initiative outside of the USA.

Learning Minister Dr Alasdair Allan and Sport Minister Jamie Hepburn today visited Woodlands Primary School in Cumbernauld, one of the 25 schools taking part, to see Unicef Kid Power in action.

Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, said:

“Kid Power is a great way of helping children learn about the world around them and seeing their hard work make a real difference. By not only giving children the power to save lives, but also nurturing their curiosity to learn about new cultures and addressing their need to connect with peers, Kid Power is delivering an experience that can sustain children’s attention and engagement over time.”

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, said:

“We want to see more young people getting involved in sport and over the next four weeks, an estimated 1,000 school pupils will be getting involved in the Kid Power initiative. I am delighted that Scotland is leading the way by being the first country outside of the USA to participate in this scheme. The more you participate, the more is invested, and every pupil taking part will help to make a difference. “

Mark Devlin, Chief Operating Officer at Unicef UK, said:

“Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of deaths of children under five and globally one in four children are stunted, which equates to around 159 million children worldwide. Unicef Kid Power seeks to address this issue by getting children to be part of the solution to end malnutrition by getting active themselves.”

“We are very pleased to be partnering with the Scottish Government on this initiative, which will not only benefit children in Scotland but will help ensure that every child gets the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong.”

Nicola Ferguson, Head Teacher at Woodlands Primary School, said:

“Kid Power has been a great way of encouraging the children to be more active both through planned physical activity and through their daily lives. This has benefited their own health and well-being while also allowing them to help other children who are in desperate need of food through the nutrition packs. The children are very enthusiastic about the programme and this is evident in their involvement in the lessons and their eagerness to have their points tallied up. The staff have gotten in on the act too with many of us doing extra trips up and down the stairs and even some sledging in the snow.

“This has been a very worthwhile pilot and we are keen to embed this within our work, we are already planning on how the rest of the classes can be involved once the initial pilot is over. As a level 2 Rights Respecting School this has strengthened our links with Unicef and our commitment to the promotion of children’s rights which underpins the ethos and day to day work of our school.”