Health and Nutrition program

School for Health Project 2021-2025



To reduce exposure to the major risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). NCDs and effectively cope with health emergencies including COVID-19 in the Albanian population in general, but with a particular focus on schoolchildren. To promote positive behavioural changes among all primary schoolchildren (aged 6-16 years) in Albania in order for them, their families and communities at large to engage in healthy lifestyle practices including healthy nutritional practices, physical activity, no use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs, as well as promotion of other healthy behaviours.

Programme background  

Albania has exhibited a significant progress in the past few years characterized by economic growth and successful implementation of deep reforms in many sectors. Accession to the European Union (EU) is an overarching priority and a key policy driver for reforms across all sectors in the country including the education and health sector. Nevertheless, both the health sector and education sector in Albania face a series of issues and challenges related to governance, sustainable financing and provision of quality services. Traditionally, the country has a solid basic education system and a functional health system which are nonetheless not very efficient, especially regarding high-quality education and health promotion activities related to control and prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The latter are on the rise in line with the epidemiologic transition caused by demographic changes in the past decades, and constitute a threat with an estimated 94% of the attributable mortality and 84% of the attributable burden of disease. Unhealthy behavioural practices and deleterious lifestyle patterns are a cause of concern and a significant challenge for the transitional Albania. While such behaviours pose risks at all ages, focus on prevention of NCDs among children and youth is especially important since their exposure at childhood influences health at adult life, but also since health promotion at young age is more efficient than trying to change established behaviours of adults or the thereof resulting diseases.

Target reach

319, 671 basic education children,

24, 970 Teachers

1220 school directors 

Target locations 

National level

Implemented by:

Save the Children in Albania

Supported by: Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development

Total budget 4.56 million CHF

Main activities:

  • Establish inter-sectorial collaboration for evaluation and reviewing of school curricula (on food and nutrition, physical activity, sexual and reproductive health, no use of substances, mental health and wellbeing, hygiene and sanitation with a particular focus on COVID-19 prevention, waste management and environmental health in general).
  • Identification of potential inequalities: assessment of differences in knowledge, attitude and practices among children with disabilities, those pertinent to minority groups, or low socioeconomic status.
  • Assessment of competency-based curricula during classes: the new curricula consist of 7 competencies, but the main focus should be on the competency referred to as “sports and health”.
  • Integration into the new curricula to increasing awareness of drawbacks to children buying junk food from vendors in school vicinities, and elsewhere. Principles of food safety, good hygienic practices, and COVID-19 prevention will be integrated into this activity.
  • Health caravan: targeting schoolchildren, out of school children and their parents
  • Children’s governance structures (which are currently recognised by law in Albania) within schools, capacity building and empowerment of children’s governing bodies, as the main leader for encouraging and promoting the peer-to-peer role in behavioural change.
  • Raising capacities of the parents: modules on healthy eating and promotion of physical activity for their children; modules on COVID-19 prevention and good hygienic practices in general; modules how to talk about health issue with children according to their age, gender and disability status
  • Promotion of positive parenting, eating in family (family meals), good principal campaigns.
  • Strengthening or establishing the centre of information in schools (“qendra burimore”) as a source of information for both children and parents.
  • Strengthening of the existing health clubs or creating new clubs in schools.
  • Create a knowledge portal (web-browser based, optimized for mobile viewing, etc.) that will deliver specific educational content on NCD prevention, good hygienic practices, environmental health including waste management, and COVID-19 prevention to parents, teachers and children
  • Developing a “curriculum map” on health concepts or topics and competences related to heath issues for all teacher profiles to provide health education
  • Improving the university curriculum for pre-service training of new teachers about health issues, good practices/examples and new concepts
  • Develop applications that will promote various aspects of NCD and COVID-19 prevention, such as “Step-to-health” for the promotion of fitness, “Post-my-food” for the promotion of healthy eating, “No-to-sugar” for discouraging the uptake of sugar, and COVID-19 related applications
  • Assessment of specific design, layout, structure and furniture of classrooms, school hygiene, toilets, tools for cleaning physical facilities inside and outside the school, waste collection, as a major precondition for health promotion activities with children
  • Development of training programs and modules for teachers, other school staff and local health personnel (psychologist, dentist, doctor, social worker, school principal, assistant teacher, health promotion employees, specialists of Local Health Units).
  • Development of the evidence to support policy options and to monitor their impact on schoolchildren health, including norms, attitudes, practices
  • Research at regional and local level for generating evidence about behavioural/lifestyle factors of schoolchildren
  • Networking and effective partnerships between the national Institute of Public Health and Health Operators with the objective of continuously updating with the new concepts
  • Cross-sectoral collaboration between health sector, food and nutrition sector, environmental sector and finance/economy sector for tobacco, alcohol, sugar and fat taxations, which aim at improving both health outcomes and revenues

Expected results

  • School children (6-16 years old) have the necessary skills and knowledge to prevent behavioural risk factors for NCDs and cope with health emergencies such as COVID-19
  • Teachers, school directors and professionals promote healthy behaviours, proper hygienic measures, safe environment practices, and engage in setting an enabling framework in class and in school as an institution
  • Central and local government promote health in an inter-sectoral approach based on evidence, new standards and guidelines





What We Do