The American-University of Beirut (AUB)-developed “Nestlé Ajyal Salima” nutrition education curriculum has just entered its fourth country in the Middle East, following an agreement with Jordan’s Royal Health Awareness Society to launch it in Amman this school year. The addition of Jordan to the family also marks the 80th country milestone for the global Nestlé Healthy Kids Program, to which Ajyal Salima belongs.
First launched in Lebanon in 2010 and part of the Lebanese Ministry of Education’s school health unit curriculum since 2014, Ajyal Salima was recently presented by AUB’s Dr. Carla Habib Mourad at the 5th CSR Lebanon Forum as a case study on the powerful impact of collaborations between the private and public sectors.
“Beyond just acquiring information, Ajyal Salima helps children develop skills to independently make changes in their behavior,” said Karine Antoniades Turk, Creating Shared Value Manager at Nestlé Middle East.
“The Program has been successful and able to expand in the region because it proved its efficacy and sustainability by meeting its objectives of enhancing children’s nutritional and lifestyle habits.”
Built on a behavioral-based educational methodology, Ajyal Salima is designed to enable teachers to integrate its sessions into different classroom subjects, such as science, math, art, language, and more.
National roll out results over three years of implementation in Lebanon confirmed its impact on knowledge and behavior, finding enrolled children eat fruits and vegetables twice more frequently and their general nutrition awareness increases significantly following its interventions.
The Program has since been introduced in Dubai, where implementation in all public schools began in 2012, and Saudi Arabia, where it was launched in 2014 – the same year it became the first from the Middle East to join the EPODE International Network, which encompasses programs from around the world working to tackle childhood obesity by promoting partnership among various entities.
Ajyal Salima encompasses three components that include classroom educational sessions for nine-eleven year-olds consisting of interactive learning and hands-on activities, healthy eating, and physical activity; parental involvement; and interventions at the school canteen level.
“The Program is one way we meet one of the commitments recently published in our Nestlé to Society report for the Middle East: To promote healthy diets and lifestyles in the region,” concluded Antoniades.
- Habib-Mourad C., Ghandour L.A, Moore H.J, Nabhani-Zeidan M, Adetayo K, Hwalla N, Summerbell C. Promoting Healthy eating and physical activity among school children: findings from the Health-E-PALS, the first pilot intervention from Lebanon. BMC Public Health 2014, 14:940 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-940
- Habib-Mourad C., Moore H.J, Nabhani-Zeidan M, Hwalla N, Summerbell C. Health-E-PALS: promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Lebanese school children – Intervention development. Educ Health 2014,32. http://sheu.org.uk/x/eh321chm.pdf.