Establishing community-owned food garden: a stunting prevention initiative

We will conduct nutrition-sensitive agriculture training and education to initiate home gardening using local foods to improve household nutrition intake and reduce stunting prevalence.

Project Type

  • Lean Experimentation

THE PROBLEM

Timor Tengah Selatan (TTS), or South Central Timor, in East Nusa Tenggara province is considered one of Indonesia’s regions with the highest stunting prevalence of children under two years old, with a staggering 346% of them reported as stunted (TP2AK, 2018). Based on our research, three villages in Soe City have extremely high stunting prevalence of children under five years old, namely Kuatae (82.6%), Noemeto (76.9%), and Taubneno (72.6%). The data indicates eight out of ten children under five years old are stunted. Even though many stunting-related programs have been implemented in TTS for years, stunting prevalence in the region remains high.

Based on findings from our previous stunting prevention project in Central Sumba, most families in East Nusa Tenggara province consume starchy foods that are generally low in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, protein, and minerals. Among the reasons for this low dietary diversity is limited knowledge about locally available nutritious foods, such as moringa. While moringa is already part of the community’s everyday lives, many families don’t have enough knowledge about its benefits. Consumption of moringa is not normally associated with its nutritional benefits. 

THE SOLUTION

Kopernik will start the project by conducting Unmet Needs Research to identify the needs related to stunting as well as opportunities for moringa-growing in three villages (Kuatae, Noemeto, and Taubneno). The research will also include interviews with stakeholders, e.g. village and district government, Posyandu cadres, and local NGOs.

The project itself will focus on several interventions:

  • Provide nutrition-sensitive agriculture training and education to improve the dietary habits of households containing pregnant mothers and children under two years old.
  • Distribute water filters and ‘1,000 days’ height charts - an easy-to-use child height measurement tool - to households containing pregnant mothers and children under two years old.
  • Distribute moringa seedlings, and provide households with technical assistance on how to grow moringa and establish home gardens.
  • Partner with the district's health department and women’s empowerment group to conduct participatory activities, such as training sessions that include an introduction to nutritious local food, dietary energy supply, and moringa benefits and cultivation.

For the implementation of these interventions, we will work closely with the village Posyandu cadres, village heads, and the Health Department of South Central Timor Regency. 

THE EXPECTED IMPACT

We aim to map out the current conditions related to stunting and moringa growing and consumption in the area, to identify what works and what doesn’t.

Through identification of and introduction to locally available nutritious foods, as well as education on moringa benefits and cultivation, we expect to increase households’ knowledge about stunting prevention and to improve the dietary habits of households containing pregnant mothers and children under five years old. 

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We are grateful to Polish Aid for providing funding support on this project.


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THE PROJECT RESULT

The key findings of the project interventions, with each intervention being implemented in the treatment group in Kuatae village and being compared to the control group in Noemeto village:

  1. Knowledge of stunting

Knowledge of stunting was measured to understand the ability of the project participants (cadres, pregnant mothers, and mothers with children under 2 years old) to explain the definition of stunting, its impact on child growth and development, and preventive measures that can be taken.

These three indicators were evaluated individually and the scores were averaged for the treatment group, then compared with the control group.

The results: In the treatment group, participants’ knowledge of stunting and its prevention increased by 43%, whereas at the endline, knowledge of stunting prevention in the control group had decreased by 15% from the baseline.

This result shows that the activities were effective to improve knowledge on stunting prevention.

  1. Practicing lessons obtained from the training sessions

The application of learnings from lessons that we measured were stunting prevention, the use and consumption of Moringa, and the use of other food ingredients with high nutritional value for cooking family meals. Data was collected from pregnant mothers and mothers with children under 2 years old during the endline survey.


The results: At the endline survey, 86% of mothers had applied learnings from lessons from the training sessions, indicating that the knowledge and skills they gained from the training sessions were relevant and applicable.

  1. Local food consumptionThis indicator was used to determine whether pregnant mothers and mothers with children under 2 years old had implemented learnings from the local food and moringa cooking competition in their respective homes. Data was collected during the endline survey.


The results: At the endline, 91% of mothers had cooked and consumed local nutritious food at home at least once per week.

  1. Moringa consumption

The first indicator of moringa consumption was measured by the percentage of pregnant mothers and mothers with children under 2 years old in the treatment group who reported an increase in moringa consumption, and was then compared to the control group.

The results: At the baseline, the number of participating mothers in the treatment group who reported consuming moringa frequently was 61%, this was 26% lower compared to those in the control group where moringa consumption was already high (87%).

At the endline, we found that there was an 18% increase of pregnant mothers and mothers with children under 2 years old who consumed moringa frequently, while there was no change in consumption observed in the control group.

The second indicator of moringa consumption was calculated to identify the average frequency of moringa consumption by mothers and family members per week.

The results: At the baseline, the consumption of moringa for both groups was the same (2 times per week). At the endline, while there was no significant change in the control group, there was a 45% increase in the average moringa consumption frequency per week in the treatment group.

These findings show that education sessions on moringa and its benefits are effective in increasing moringa consumption in the treatment group. 

PROJECT COST

Type
Description
Amount

Solution & Project Implementation

Costs associated with the purchase of the solutions tested and project coordination

$7,650

Monitoring & Evaluation

Costs associated with data collection, analysis and reporting

$1,761

Administration Fee

Cost of transferring payments internationally, processing online donations (5%) and a contribution to Kopernik's operational costs (15%)

$2,339

Total $11,750

This project is implemented by Yayasan Kopernik on behalf of our partner who provided grant funding for this project.