16 October 2019

World Food Day

Charles Nkwoala

“I benefited immensely from FAO’s nutrition course, ENACT.”



Charles Nkwoala was a PhD candidate in Nigeria when he joined a group of tutors from seven African universities testing an innovative course designed to help nutrition experts more effectively influence people’s eating habits.

At the time, an essential ingredient of effective food and nutrition education was missing from the recipe books of sub-Saharan African universities, namely, the tools needed to encourage people to adopt healthier diets. In other words, knowing about proper nutrition didn’t necessarily help experts to bring about changes in behavior.

“The distinction between nutrition science and nutrition education was lost on many students,” Charles says.

The Education for Effective Nutrition in Action (ENACT) course of study was developed by FAO and its partners through a pilot programme between 2012 and 2015. It emphasized the importance of knowledge, attitude, perception and practice (KAPP) in guiding people on how to change their poor food habits.

As part of his PhD project, Charles used the skills he acquired from ENACT to teach secondary schools students about the importance of nutrition. More recently, he delivered a week-long session introducing the course to 35 tutors from 18 Nigerian universities and polytechnics, as well as others from Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Now a lecturer in the Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics at Michael Okpara University in Nigeria, Charles says he has seen the difference made by the ENACT course.

In all, nearly one thousand nutrition scholars have received ENACT training since the completion of the pilot phase at Michael Okpara University and other institutions, including the Federal University of Agriculture, the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Imo State University and the University of Ibadan.

Professional nutritionists in Nigeria have also been briefed on the course by the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and encouraged to seek training in this approach.  

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