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Convening partners to support the Government of Indonesia to tackle malnutrition

Private and public sector partners are pooling resources through The Power of Nutrition to integrate efforts to tackle malnutrition in Indonesia. This programme takes a holistic approach to improve nutrition, WASH and health for mothers, children and adolescents.

PARTNERS

  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia
  • Asia Philanthropy Circle
  • Save the Children
  • Nutrition International
  • Government of Indonesia

SDGS SUPPORTED

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health & Wellbeing
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 17 - Partnership for the Goals

CONVENED FUNDS

$7m

LOCATION

Indonesia - two districts

DATES

2019 - 2024

Introduction

Malnutrition is a significant problem in Indonesia, affecting a large number of people, particularly children. In 2018, close to three in 10 children under five years of age were stunted – meaning they’re too short for their age as a result of chronic malnutrition. This has devastating effects, not only on the child’s physical and mental development, but on the wider economy too.

While poverty in Indonesia is a key driver of malnutrition, a lack of understanding and knowledge around child feeding is also contributing to these sustained high rates of malnutrition.

Maternal health also plays a role. One in five pregnant women are underweight, exposing them (and their babies) to serious pregnancy complications. Almost half of pregnant women also suffer from critically low iron levels (many women who fall pregnant are teens), leading to low birth weight or premature babies.

Our programme

The Power of Nutrition convened a range of partners in 2018 to support the Government of Indonesia to realise its stunting reduction goals. The private and public sector partners - Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Asia Philanthropy Circle, Save the Children and Nutrition International, are pooling resources through The Power of Nutrition to integrate efforts and maximise impact.

The Better Investment in Stunting Alleviation (BISA – which means “I can” in Indonesian) programme is supporting women, children and adolescent girls in two districts - West Java and East Nusu Tenggara Timur - to have better access to nutrition services. Interventions include improving understanding around nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene through social and behaviour change interventions, encouraging breastfeeding and strengthening health services by providing training for health workers. The programme also tackles the high rates of anaemia among teenagers through iron and folic acid supplementation in schools.

Programme interventions

Nutrition counselling

Improving maternal, infant and young child nutrition (the first 1,000 days) through counselling in health facilities and within communities.

Supplementation

Providing crucial micronutrients (iron, folic acid, zinc) to adolescent girls, pregnant women and children and increasing the number of vaccinated people.

Supporting leadership

Supporting leadership at village and regional levels to plan, implement and monitor the delivery of nutrition programmes.

Breastfeeding

Promoting breastfeeding and healthier hygiene habits.

Students with disabilities are being reached with adolescent nutrition programming through this programme.

Part of the project’s mandate is to provide in-school adolescent girls with nutrition education and anaemia prevention in select districts. This includes the active participation of schools for children with special education needs and disabilities, known as Sekolah Luar Biasa (SLB) schools in Indonesia. If services and systems are not adapted to be accessible, children and adolescents with disabilities may not get equitable access to good nutrition.

Two girls smile at the camera giving peace signs and holding up packages of weekly iron and folic acid supplementation.
Teachers encourage peer support to help students consume WIFAS consistently.

Eny Koestien is the principal of one such school in Lembang, West Java province. The school includes students with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, hearing loss, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The adolescent nutrition programme is supported by the local puskesmas, or community health centre, which provides the supply of weekly iron and folic acid supplementation (WIFAS) to prevent anaemia and helps spread nutrition education within the school. The school coordinates closely with parents and submits data on consumption to the health centre.

Koestien said she is grateful that her students have the opportunity to access the WIFAS programme as it contributes to their ongoing health and wellbeing:

When the teachers and puskesmas staff briefed the parents about child and adolescent nutrition, anaemia, and the WIFAS programme, they were all very enthusiastic... They asked a lot of questions and were very supportive of the programme.

15-year­-old Arsyifa and her friend Nabila are both students who attend the school and take part in the adolescent nutrition programme. Both girls are hearing impaired and share their experience using sign language, translated by their teacher Tri Rahayu. Arsyifa said she never forgets to take her WIFAS tablets as it has become routine for her. Nabila said that while she sometimes forgets on her own, her mother readily reminds her. Rahayu advised her students they can also support each other: “Nabila and Arsyifa, you can remind each other by consuming the WIFA supplement together through a video call,” she told them. 

Rahayu is a strong advocate for adolescent nutrition within the school. She has a bachelor’s degree in special education and 22 years of teaching experience. Her goal is to help her students find acceptance in society and realize their full potential.

I find happiness when my students shine... They make me proud.

During the lockdown imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the WIFAS programme was interrupted as schools closed. Now that schools have reopened, students are given the supplements with instructions to consume them every Friday night at home. Rahayu counsels and trains parents on supportive mechanisms to help engage their children and facilitate consistency in WIFAS consumption.

I always remind the parents through the WhatsApp group every Friday and also request them to send photos of their children taking the supplement.

Read about our other programme in Indonesia here.

PROGRAMME IMPACT

Progress to date

3.3m

people reached

6.3k

cases of stunting averted

4.8k

lives saved

161k

cases of anaemia averted

Lto R Tri BISA SLB Students SLB Principal