The “Healthy Kids-Ajyal Salima” nutrition education program developed by the FAFS department at the American University of Beirut (AUB), 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 number of schools reached across the country to 225. Built on a behavioral-based educational methodology, Ajyal Salima is designed to enable teachers integrate their sessions into different classroom subjects, such as science, math, art, language, and more.
As a part of the global Nestlé Healthy Kids Program that is now in 84 countries, Ajyal Salima will also be implemented in Palestine this year, becoming the fifth to be launched – 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, ongoing in Dubai, where it was introduced in 2012, and has completed a pilot run in Saudi Arabia in 2014 – reaching over 40,000 kids in the Middle East to date.
In Lebanon, all previously enrolled schools in Ajyal Salima program were asked to participate in a competition to extend the goal of the programme “Encouraging Healthy Eating and Physical Activity” and reach the wider community.
The schools were invited to showcase their projects during a national event on October 5, 2016 at the UNESCO palace in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Education. Six finalists were selected from over 100 participating schools. Winning projects were implemented in cooperation with different entities such as municipalities, NGOs, private sectors through actions among the local communities.
Participating schools chose one of the following themes: promoting water consumption, increasing fruits and vegetables intake, and encouraging physical activity.
The jury was composed of: Dean Nahla Hwalla and Dr. Carla Habib Mourad on behalf of AUB, Mrs. Sonia Najem on behalf of the Ministry of Education, and Ms. Karine Antoniades and Patricia Chammas on behalf of Nestlé. The winning schools received a fridge to store fruits and vegetables in the school canteen as well as sports equipment.