According to the UNICEF report (2016), one out of two infants in Egypt suffer from Iron Deficiency Anemia. This is a cause that Danone Egypt has adopted to help fight IDA through its different product portfolio including Danone yogurt, Activia, Danette, DanUp and Dango, and the educational services it provides consumers and the public at large. To fulfill Danone Egypt’s purpose of Nourishing a Healthier, Happier Egypt, the program aims to encourage Egyptian school children and mothers to acquire positive nutrition habits with the intention of ensuring healthy growth and assisting in the protection against widespread diseases such as anemia, obesity and low immunity resulting from poor nutritional habits.
The 5x5 School Awareness Program is conducted over a course of three days. The first day is the educational part, which takes place in the classroom wherein the well-trained and qualified facilitator applies the importance of the five meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks), in a fun, engaging and interactive way. On the second visit, the nutritional information is delivered through different exercises and activities relevant to healthy eating habits. By constantly engaging with the students in a playful way, it helps ensure proper grasping of material provided by building link and interest. On the third visit, a nutrition session is delivered to mothers so they take home and apply in their day-to-day lives. The overall objective is to ultimately change the eating habits of children, hence reducing the level of IDA among Egyptian children.
Henri de l’Epine, managing director for Danone North East Africa, said that the 5x5 School Program strengthens the company’s mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible through its products and educational services. “At Danone, we have a defined set of long-term Goals for our company -- inspired by our ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision -- which contribute to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Through these goals, we commit amongst others to impact people’s health locally, setting the foundation for healthy generations and working with partners to create and share sustainable value. Our partnership with the Ministry of Education to implement the 5x5 School Awareness Program is thus an important initiative towards achieving these goals in Egypt,” added Henri de l’Epine.
Adel Abdel Gawad, director of social education department in the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, praised the role of the 5x5 School Awareness Program in raising the awareness of the importance of healthy nutrition in a simple way that is appropriate to the age of school children. “Danone did a great job in changing some misconceptions in children regarding health and nutrition. After the implementation of the program in one of the schools, I was very happy to hear from children and teachers alike the importance of the diversity of food to contain the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, milk, fruits and vegetables. The focus on yogurt was essential to highlight its many benefits including digestion, strengthening the immune system and maintaining strong bones. All thanks to Danone for this impactful program.”