In the lead up to the 7th Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), organisers Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) have partnered with the Ministry of Education, Your Health First, and Qatar Culinary Professionals to deliver a healthy food and nutrition awareness program to 30 schools around Qatar.
Over the next two weeks, teams made up of representatives from the participating organisations will be visiting primary and middle schools in Doha, Al Wakra and Al Khor. During the visits, nutritionists from Your Health First will help students distinguish between healthy nutrition and unhealthy foods, and understand the benefits and harms of each. Members of QCP will prepare healthy and tasty snacks in front of the students, helping them gain a visual understanding of where food comes from and an appreciation of healthy alternatives to common snacks.
“We wanted to create a bridge between the enormous effort made on National Sport Day to help people kick-start a healthy lifestyle and the nation-wide food festival taking place in March,” said Mashal Shahbik, Director of Festivals and Events at QTA. “Culinary experiences are cultural, social, and entertaining. It is also crucial for all of us, especially our children, to remember that they are nutritional, and we are grateful to the support of our partners for developing this innovative way of reminding students across Qatar.”
QTA is also in talks with the Ministry of Education to make special access to QIFF available to school children as a way of diversifying their experiences of food.
Faisal AlBadr, Physical Education Specialist Educational Supervision Office in the Ministry of Education, commented, “We thank QTA for taking the initiative to educate our students about healthy eating, and we wish that this collaboration will continue throughout the Festival in a way that contributes to the welfare of all Qatar’s citizens.”
Sahtak Awalan; Your Health First, is an initiative developed in partnership between the Ministry of Public Health and Weill Cornel Medical College in Qatar that uses media, digital, and grassroots campaigns to make information about healthy lifestyles and preventive measures easily accessible to the local community.
“This new initiative is a wonderful opportunity for Your Health First to continue its work with young people, ensuring they remain fit and healthy and are able to meet the challenges of Qatar National Vision 2030,” said Nesreen Al-Rifai, Chief Communications Officer at WCM-Q. “By the time QIFF begins, I am sure we will have reached out to hundreds of children and had a real impact on their diet. Educating children about the benefits of a healthy diet and providing them with the knowledge to make informed choices perfectly complements the mission and vision of Your Health First.”
School children will also be treated to live demonstrations by Ghanem Al Sulaiti, a young engineer who is also passionate about health and nutrition, as well as Chefs from the Armenian restaurant Mamig.
"We are excited to be part of this initiative. Our aim is to bring together a group of professional Chefs who are going to teach young students how to eat right and, in doing so, become a responsible member of the community,” said Baran Yucel, Chairman at Qatar Culinary professionals. “Any food that requires enhancing by the use of chemical substances is dangerous to our children’s health. In order to improve the health of our families, we advise members of the community to stay away from processed food and to go organic.”
Qatar International Food Festival was first organised by Qatar Tourism Authority in 2010 to showcase Qatar’s multiple food, beverage and hospitality offerings from varied cultures.
QTA and co-host Qatar Airways have confirmed that this year will see the Festival experience extending to a week-long event (22-28 March), and the addition of satellite Festival experiences at many of the country’s other landmarks and eateries.
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