The Mondelez International Foundation recently brought together seven of the world's leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in community-based obesity prevention to accelerate its impact promoting healthy lifestyles for youth. Together, they developed a common roadmap to help better measure, evaluate, communicate and design existing and future well-being projects. Dr. Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Professor of Epidemiology and director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the Yale School of Public Health, and Michael Alberg-Seberich, managing director at Beyond Philanthropy, led the summit with instrumental help from the International Nutrition Foundation.
"This is a pioneering opportunity to reshape how NGO partners create, refine and measure the impact of childhood anti-obesity programs," said Perez-Escamilla, in a prepared statement. "Using the concept of Program Impact Pathways (PIPs) we're teaching a cutting-edge, comprehensive and rigorous evaluation approach so NGOs and their partners can further improve their evidence-based programs."
NGO partners included INMED Partnerships for Children in Brazil; China Youth Development Foundation; Klasse2000 in Germany, Save the Children in Italy; Charities Aid Federation in Russia; Alicia Foundation in Spain; and Life Education West Midlands in partnership with Services for Education in the United Kingdom. The summit was the first occasion for NGO leaders to meet face-to-face alongside the 2013 International Congress of Nutrition in Granada, Spain – the world's largest gathering of nutrition professionals of its kind.
"It's unique for a corporate foundation to bring together a global group of NGOs, especially the on-the-ground experts, in such a forum," said Alberg-Seberich. "And it's important to show the corporate philanthropy and NGO communities these workshops can make a collective impact on a global scale. Together, they can find common denominators, better understand trends and opportunities and take a strategic view to encourage one another's success."
"We're committed to building community partnerships that empower people with the healthy habits to achieve holistic well-being," said Nicole Robinson, president of the Mondelez International Foundation and senior director for corporate community involvement at Mondelez International. "We're in 165 countries around the world, so we're uniquely positioned to enable innovative collaborations by bringing together some of the world's leading NGOs to ramp up physical activity, secure more fresh foods through local agriculture and offer better nutrition education for children and their families. I'm truly hopeful about how these NGOs will cross barriers and borders in the spirit of improving health outcomes."
Individually the seven NGO partners have had great success. And together through the summit, the groups have created new ways to collaborate and make an even bigger difference.
Here are some results of the global NGO partners' recent successes:
- Brazil: INMED Partnerships for Children created "Heath in Action," a school-based program to educate children and their families on good nutrition, healthy lifestyles practices and preventive health, hygiene and sanitation measures. The effort reaches more than 188,000 children and 752,000 family members in nine cities and trains teachers, cafeteria workers and community organizers in creating home, community and school gardens to provide nutritious school lunches, improve people's access to fresh produce and educate them on the importance of a healthy diet.
- China: Youth Development Foundation has created "Hope Kitchens" to help to improve the nutrition of food served to students. Since 2009, they have provided kitchen facilities to schools across 1,000 schools in 28 provinces and have trained teachers and kitchen workers on food safety and good nutrition. The group has increased students' intake of vegetables, meat, egg, bean and dairy products; and helped students form good hygiene habits, reducing the likelihood of them suffering from gastrointestinal diseases.
- Germany: Klasse2000 is an award winning healthy lifestyle program that has benefitted more than 1 million children in 38,000 elementary schools, teaching vital knowledge about nutrition, the importance of physical activity and other valuable life skills.
- Italy: Save the Children has created "Ready Steady Go!," a program that promotes healthy lifestyles and physical activity to reach more than 66,000 children and families in 10 cities around the country.
- Russia: Charities Aid Foundation has expanded its successful "Be Healthy" program to three regions, educating more than 13,000 children and their families in 38 schools on making smart food choices and teaching the importance of physical activity.
- Spain: Alicia Foundation is bringing cooking workshops and nutrition education to 30,000 students and seeks to improve eating habits and physical activity for Spanish teenagers. Since its launch in 2011, the program has been recognized with awards by the federal and regional government and the country's leading business magazine.
- United Kingdom: Life Education West Midlands in partnership with Services for Education delivers "Health for Life" in Birmingham to help school children develop sustainable, healthy lifestyles around eating, cooking, growing food and physical activity. The program has already served 4,500 students in 16 primary schools. In just one year, 68 percent of the program's students cook at school, 64 percent grow their own vegetables and 34 percent have better knowledge of the need for daily physical activity.