Your contribution will help SurfAid to support parents on the remote island of Sumba, Indonesia to practice child care techniques that will help to fight malnutrition. In Sumba, childhood malnutrition is unacceptably high, with 50% of children under five having stunted growth.
Malnutrition is a multi-faceted issue in which parents play a huge role. Sufficient energy and nutrient intake by children is the result of good care and feeding practices, food preperation, diversity in the diet and intra-household distribution of food.
SurfAid's project will benefit 2,005 households in the 15 communities of Lamboya Barat. These communities are comprised of 8,604 individual family members, including 1,344 children under five.
SurfAid’s Mother and Child Health Project in Sumba aims to improve the health and well-being of children under five, pregnant women and the whole community through initiatives conducted by health volunteers. The focus is on improving healthy practices to address diarrhoea, malnutrition and malaria in Lamboya Barat, a remote sub-district in west Sumba, Indonesia.
Sumba is the Indonesian island closest to northern Australia but remote from Indonesian centres. The people in Lamboya Barat are mostly poor subsistence farmers and food insecurity is a huge issue.
Food insecurity usually mostly affects children under five, leading to chronic under-nutrition or stunting. 50% of children under five in Sumba are stunted. Stunting indicates that a child is failing to thrive, with impaired brain development, lower IQ, weakened immune systems and greater risk of serious diseases.
Children under six months tend to be healthier, following SurfAid’s successful exclusive breastfeeding intervention. However, they generally become underweight once complementary feeding starts, which can become a continuing issue. This project supports and empowers families to break this cycle and maintain healthy nutrition.
SurfAid has successfully developed maternal and child health services with health volunteers and is now looking to specifically increase the knowledge of nutrition and childcare techniques.
The core project objectives can be summarised as:
- Increase knowledge on parenting, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation for parents of Lamboya Barat
- Increase coaching skills of health volunteers to support the parents in their communities
- Support community initiatives for clean water and sanitation
These objectives will be realised through:
- 75 volunteers across 15 hamlets being empowered and inspired through dynamic training on mother and child health and coaching techniques
- All the villages in Lamboya Barat receiving training and coaching on good parenting techniques, including the parents and caregivers of the 1,344 children under five
- The water facility in the community of Degora being expanded and including nutirtion gardens around tap stands, utilising the "grey water"
All of SurfAid’s programs employ a philosophy of a “hand up, not a hand out”. To achieve this, we work to empower communities through training and behaviour change. In this project, groups of community health volunteers (kaders) work together with the local health department to deliver health messages on nutrition, hygiene and sanitation to their neighbours, focusing on at-risk households. They are our frontline, receiving ongoing training and support from SurfAid staff. These kaders are the bridge between their own community and the community health services (Posyandu). The Posyandu is a monthly health activity run by the kaders, where children under five and pregnant mothers receive basic health services. These include monitoring, weighing, immunisation and provision of health information. To help the kaders give clear and correct health messages to families, it is very important that they have training and educational materials.
The construction of water facilities is also done by volunteers of the community. The whole community takes turns to collect local materials, transport all materials over difficult terrain and install the facilities under guidance of SurfAid’s engineer. Clean water is crucial in tackling malnutrition issues.