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Project report

Improve family nutrition in remote Indonesia Indonesia , RUN BY: SurfAid | STATUS: COMPLETED

Nusatani Bima Demonstration Farm - Paradowane Village

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 15,048

Raised from 4,794 people

Project background

In the Sumba Barat district and Laboya Barat sub-districts of Eastern Indonesia, rates of stunting are extremely high: 40% and 49% respectively. Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience when exposed to poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. It is one of the most extreme indicators of malnutrition.

These problems are linked to several long-term issues impacting the target communities:

  • Frequent and high disease burden,
  • Limited access to food supply,
  • Poor feeding practices; and/or
  • Low household socioeconomic status.

Previous SurfAid interventions in the target areas tackled many health and sanitation issues which contributed to malnutrition and stunting. However low access to nutritious foods and poor feeding practices remained challenging.

This project worked to help the community gain access to more nutritious foods, by growing nutrient-rich ‘food crops’ to eat, and by growing ‘cash crops’ to sell, in order to buy nutritious foods that are locally unavailable. Research shows that simply having access to nutritious food is not enough to improve health - people have to want to eat it! So this project also worked to change communities’ behaviour, by increasing knowledge about basic nutrition, and providing coaching for parents on healthy feeding practices for their children.

Key project activities and results

The $15,000 raised by the Footprints Network for this project was used to:

  • Establish demonstration farms; and
  • Provide training on nutrition-sensitive agriculture. 

This project contributed to the establishment of three demonstration farms in these remote communities (two in Sumba, one in Bima), where SurfAid has begun introducing nutrition-sensitive agriculture concepts, as well as new farming technologies and techniques, to local farmers. The demonstration farms provide an important opportunity to teach farmers about the links between agriculture and nutrition. SurfAid has run five workshops on nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Bima, and four workshops in Sumba, increasing 467 local farmers’ knowledge about the nutritional value of crops, as well as how to cultivate their land using organic locally-produced fertilisers instead of chemicals, to further enhance nutritional outcomes.

To date, we have delivered training and coaching for all 32 Posyandu (‘community health posts’) in the target areas, to align them with government standards on health and nutrition, monitoring and case management of malnourished children, and specifically focused on the first 1,000 days of life. The first 1,000 days of life - the time spanning roughly between conception and one’s second birthday - is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across a person’s entire lifespan are established. While the human brain continues to develop and change throughout life, the most rapid periods of brain growth occur in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first two years of life. Nutrition is key to this.

In Sumba Barat we conducted training sessions on:

  • Infant and child feeding for health staff; 
  • Follow up training on infant and child feeding in Posyandu; 
  • Training on ‘nutrition & food material’ for Farmers Groups; and 
  • Training for kaders (‘community health volunteers’) on growth monitoring.

We have also commenced running cooking classes for local parents, with the concept of ‘learning by doing’. Parents were invited to study together while also practising what they learn. The series of activities began with an opening from the village government. Then, we proceeded with a brainstorming session about “Uma Gizi” which helps parents to understand the role of the types of food in their child's growth process. Before proceeding with the cooking practice, participants were invited to identify the availability of the types of food discussed in the Uma Gizi, using pictures from the environment around their homes. This process aims to introduce nutritious local food sources that can be used as MP-ASI (complementary food to breast milk) for toddlers.

“I am happy to be able to learn firsthand how to make food for children from my own garden. The menu is delicious but also healthy. Such a win-win!”
Theodora - A mother of toddler & cooking class participant

Project partners and community involvement

SurfAid’s approach includes a focus on securing ongoing village and/or government funding and support. When communities and local governments provide funding or support for activities, it increases their local ownership, which in turn increases security and maintenance of the equipment and crops, decreasing risk of damage or neglect, and increases sustainability. The government has been highly enthusiastic about the programme’s results to date and are supportive of a scale-up to surrounding villages. This is a strong positive indictment of the programme’s results and relevance, and bodes well for its sustainability.

Part of a larger strategy

This project contributed to SurfAid’s overarching 6 year project called NusaTani (meaning ‘Farming Islands’ in Bahasa Indonesia), working to tackle poverty, stunting and malnutrition at a household level through nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

Nutrient intake and health status at the level of the individual are the immediate determinants of nutritional status, which is determined by three broad factors:

Food: access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to support a healthy, active life.
Health: including the health environment in terms of pathogens and environmental contaminants, water, and sanitation; and access to health services.
Care: child feeding and care practices, and care of women.

Good nutrition includes getting the right quantity of good quality and diverse foods all year. These foods must be handled and stored safely to avoid causing illness.

SurfAid implements activities in the areas of food production, agricultural income and women's empowerment to ensure all factors that influence nutrition are addressed.

This project is one of many smaller projects that all contribute to improving food security and nutrition for remote Indonesian communities.

Thank you for your support!

How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
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SurfAid International is a non-profit humanitarian organisation that works to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing.