The American University of Beirut (AUB)-developed “Nestlé Ajyal Salima” nutrition education program, first launched in Lebanon in 2010 and part of the Lebanese Ministry of Education’s school health unit curriculum since 2014, is expanding to 51 more schools nationwide in the current academic year – bringing the total reached across the country to 225.
A part of the global Nestlé Healthy Kids Program that is now in 84 countries, Ajyal Salima will also be implemented this year in Palestine, which becomes fifth to roll it out; starting in 12 public schools in the Northern, Central and Southern West Bank and aiming to reach over 1,500 students.
The Program is also expanding in Jordan, where it’s being introduced to 30 new schools for a total of 40 across the Kingdom since last year; is ongoing in Dubai, where it was introduced in 2012; and completed a pilot run in Saudi Arabia in 2014 – so far reaching over 40,000 kids in the Middle East.
"We are always proud when programs first adopted by the Lebanese Ministry of Education grow across the region," said Fadi Yarak, Director General of Education at the Ministry of Education & Higher Education in Lebanon. "Ajyal Salima continues to prove it helps children develop healthier eating habits, and it's clear we made the right choice by adopting it, especially as more and more regional governments embark on the same journey."
The Program is backed by evidence-based results showing enrolled children eat fruits and vegetables twice more frequently and their general nutrition awareness increases significantly following its interventions. *
“Nestlé Ajyal Salima’s expansion in Lebanon, where it started six years ago, aims to promote healthy eating and physical activity among 9-11 year-old school children there, at an age when they are old enough to grasp its principles and decide to incorporate healthier behaviors into their lives early on,” said Karine Antoniades Turk, Creating Shared Value Manager at Nestlé Middle East. “Nestlé is committed to Promoting Healthy Diets and Lifestyles, and it’s always a great pleasure to see how teachers and students engage with Ajyal Salima and adapt its learnings to fit into their lives.”
In Palestine, the Program’s introduction began with “Train the Trainers” workshops, designed and delivered by AUB experts to equip Field Supervisors from the Palestinian Education Ministry’s School Health department to train teachers to run it successfully in 4th, 5th and 6th grades.
“We signed a three-year memorandum with Nestlé Middle East to implement Nestlé Ajyal Salima in Palestine, as the Program falls in line with our 2015-2019 five-year plan to improve the quality of teaching and learning, as well as students’ nutritional and general health,” said Dr. Mohammad Rimawi, Director General of School Health at the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
Developed by AUB and 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.