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Project details

Implement small-scale irrigation systems to decrease malnutrition in remote Indonesia Indonesia , RUN BY: SurfAid | STATUS: COMPLETED


SurfAid staff and community planting demonstration farm in Wetana village, Sumba

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 25,001

Raised from 3,803 people

Project Background 

Sumba is an island in eastern Indonesia. This amazing tourist destination lies far off the beaten track, has a rich and unique culture, world-class surf breaks, and one of the best-rated hotels in the world.

But Sumba’s people face extremely high rates of poverty and stunting. Stunting is one of the most extreme indicators of malnutrition, resulting from long-term nutritional deprivation. Poverty and stunting in Sumba are driven and exacerbated by low agricultural productivity that is further impacted by an eight-month dry season.

The poverty rate for Laboya Barat sub-district is 63%. A further 20% of the population are ‘near-poor’ and extremely vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks.

This poverty and vulnerability causes a negative cycle in which poor farmers are less able, and less willing, to invest much of their limited funds into agriculture activities, as they consider it too risky.

Current low productivity means there are fewer food crops available for consumption, which contributes to poor diet, poor health and malnutrition. Although the communities rely heavily on agriculture, their farming is highly dependent on rainfall. Unfortunately, the dry season lasts at least 8 months every year, and with climate change, rainfall patterns have become very unpredictable.

Project Overview

SurfAid is working to help local farmers improve agricultural productivity by implementing demonstration farms, to grow relevant crops, and model good agricultural practice. Demonstration farms allow farmers to continuously learn in an informal setting. ‘Accompaniment’ – where SurfAid staff live and work alongside the community – will be used to support short formal sessions and ensure efficient use of participants’ time.

SurfAid is helping local farmers to overcome the long dry season and unpredictable rainfall due to climate change, by implementing a small-scale irrigation system in a new demonstration farm. This will allow farmers to learn new irrigation techniques and implement it in their own gardens and fields, to have year-round access to water.

What’s Covered in Project Cost




?      Set up a new demonstration farm with small-scale irrigation system in a new area, reaching more people

?       Provide training on good agriculture practice

?       Develop and produce materials in local language

?       Provide coaching and support in farmer’s own fields and gardens.


Accountability and quality assurance


 Partners & Community Involvement

SurfAid in Indonesia will work together with the communities and local government of Laboya Barat sub-district. The communities and government will allocate land for the demonstration farm, community members will be engaged in the set-up and establishment of the demonstration farm and the irrigation system. Community members and relevant government personnel will participate in training on agricultural practices to improve production and maintain the irrigation system, so that positive changes can be maintained and sustained by local actors beyond this project. The communities will be engaged in the development of tailored training materials and contribute locally-available resources, volunteering their time and labour to the project, and the government will be engaged to provide follow-up through extension workers.

How does the project fits into a larger strategy

This project contributes directly to SurfAid’s overarching six-year program called NUSATANI (farming islands), tackling poverty, stunting and malnutrition at household level through nutrition sensitive agriculture. The program is currently in its third year.

Good nutrition includes getting the right quantity of good quality, 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, improved access to health services and women's empowerment, to address the key factors that influence nutrition status.


How was this funded?

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

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
Travel Insurance Direct AU
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
World Nomads UK
World Nomads Global
World Nomads Europe
World Nomads Ireland

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.