We want primary school children aged 6-12 years old to increase their consumption of fruit, vegetables, and animal-source proteins, while decreasing consumption of snack foods and beverages high in sugar, fat, and salt, so that malnutrition is reduced and overall dietary quality is improved.


We want primary caregivers to provide these healthy foods so that malnutrition is reduced and overall dietary quality is improved.

World Food Programme (WFP)
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS)
Plan International
World Vision
Phare Creative Studio

Pursat, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, and Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia

Making eating healthy fun for kids

Recent studies have shown worrying trends in the dietary habits of Cambodian primary school children, including high consumption of unhealthy snacks, and low intake of nutrient-rich foods (fruits, veggies, and animal sourced protein). This pattern, consistent since 2014, has contributed to widespread nutrient deficiencies, and a double burden of malnutrition and obesity.

17Triggers researcher during concept testing in Siem Reap province

To address these dietary challenges, the WFP and MoEYS collaborated with Plan International, World Vision, 17 Triggers, and Phare Creative Studio, to develop a Social Behavior Change (SBC) intervention aimed at improving dietary knowledge, attitudes, and practices in 686 schools, across five Cambodian provinces. After multiple co-creation workshops, and extensive field testing of various concepts, messages, activities, and tools with school directors, teachers, students, and caregivers, the team came up with a fun, effective way to make eating healthy fun for primary school kids.

“Adventure in the kingdom of Food” – Campaign banner for School Nutrition Day

Adventures in the Kingdom of Food

This intervention is a thrilling, gamified journey where young explorers and their caregivers discover the delicious delights of Cambodia’s diverse culinary landscape. Together they traverse through their communities via food choices, and even uncover the secrets of their home gardens. For kids, the adventure spans activities both at school and at home, each step a discovery of the hidden benefits of healthy meals and snacks. Their mission: to diversify their diet and make wise snack choices, all while collecting the enigmatic and delightful ‘Fresh Cutie’ characters.

FreshyCutie collectible stickers

A two-pronged approach

This comprehensive campaign tackled healthy eating behaviors across three key strategic pillars:  Snack Better, Eat with Variety, and Grow Your Own (vegetables/fruits), in two phases: 1) School Nutrition Days: annual school events promoting nutrition and healthy diets through a variety of flexible activities like games and quizzes, organized by School Directors with local committees and authorities to engage children, caregivers, and communities; and 2) the Battle for Healthy Diets (BHD): a three-month, in-school challenge that enhances and extends the efforts initiated by School Nutrition Days. Its aim is to foster long-term healthy eating habits among students and their caregivers, effectively guiding them towards sustained behavioral change in their daily dietary choices. Through use of gamification, students work together to complete monthly missions by making healthy food choices and defeating the Sneakies (i.e. unhealthy snack monsters).

“Freshy Tracker” booklet, that accompanies kids along their eating missions.

Along the way, students can win individual incentives for their healthy choices, or for supporting other classmates in their individual missions. Classes earn points together to contribute to the larger school goal of defeating the biggest, baddest Sneakie, a giant, unhealthy donut monster. Schools are provided with training, and a kit with guides, tools, and materials to deliver the intervention.

“The Battle for Healthy Diets” Final tool kit

The impact: Healthier habits in the Kingdom of Food

During testing, the intervention showed promising, early signals of positively influencing the dietary habits of primary school children and their caregivers. The Adventure in the Kingdom of Food School Nutrition Day was implemented across all 686 schools in the 2023 school year in combination with the Ministry of Education’s curriculum delivery, and the Battle for Healthy Diets will be implemented in 86 schools in 2024.