We will conduct nutrition-sensitive agriculture education and establish community gardens to improve the quality of food, dietary diversity and patterns, and nutritional intake, and reduce stunting prevalence.
East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province has been reported as the province with the highest stunting prevalence at 37.8%, where more than a third of children under the age of 2 were reported to be stunted. In the regency of South Central Timor (TTS), stunting prevalence is at a staggering rate of 48.3%, with more than 30,000 children under the age of 5 considered to be stunted in the area.
Even though numerous stunting-prevention programs have been implemented in this region over the years, stunting prevalence in the region remains high. Most families in NTT consume starchy food that is generally low in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, protein, and minerals. One of the reasons for this low dietary diversity is limited knowledge about locally available nutritious food.
In 2021, with the support from Polish Aid, Kopernik conducted unmet needs research in three villages in TTS that have a high prevalence of stunting among children under the age of 5: Kuatae (82.6%), Noemeto (76.9%), and Taubneno (72.6%). The research mapped out the current situation related to stunting and to better understand the needs of the community regarding stunting prevention efforts. The research found that the communities face several challenges, these include:
- Access to nutritious ingredients.
- Knowledge and skills to prepare and consume locally available nutritious food.
- Access to education about nutrition.
- Support services for pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of 5.
- Inadequate/limited services provided by the Integrated Healthcare Post (Posyandu).
Using the research findings, we designed stunting prevention interventions to be tested in two villages – Kuatae and Noemeto. We conducted a series of experiments to test the effectiveness of stunting prevention and nutrition-sensitive agriculture educational interventions, and established a community-owned garden to provide the community with easy access to sustainable and nutritious local food, especially households with pregnant women and children under the age of 2.The initial results of these interventions showed promise in addressing the unmet needs identified during our research. These promising solutions for the prevention and reduction of stunting are now ready to be replicated in another village in Soe, South Central Timor to further determine their effectiveness.
We will implement and test three interventions to improve the quality of food, dietary diversity and patterns, and nutritional intake of households with pregnant women and mothers with children under 2 years old in Kesetnana village, South Mollo, South Central Timor.
- Each intervention (treatment) will be implemented in Kesetnana village and Oinlasi village will serve as the control group:
- Nutrition-sensitive agriculture education. The intervention will focus on food security and utilisation of locally available nutritious food. Activities include nutrition-sensitive agriculture educational training to encourage the target group to improve the quality of food and nutrition intake by their children, local food identification, recipe development, and a cooking competition.
- Establishment of community gardens to provide the community members with easy access to sustainable and nutritious local food
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 improve the quality of food, dietary diversity and patterns, and nutritional intake of households with pregnant women and mothers with children under 2 years old.
Through stunting prevention and nutrition-sensitive agriculture education, as well as the establishment of community gardens, we will improve the community knowledge and dietary practices, which potentially lead to stunting prevalence reduction.
THE PROJECT RESULT
Kopernik conducted three interventions: building community knowledge on stunting prevention, nutrition-sensitive agriculture education, and establishing a community garden. The activities were implemented between July to December 2022. The main achievements of the project include:
- Increase of stunting prevention knowledge among project participants by 38%.
- All project participants applied the knowledge they gained during the training about stunting prevention in their daily lives. The most frequently reported applied practices were attending Posyandu more frequently, consuming nutritious food, and exclusive breastfeeding.
- 91% of the project participants reported that they gained positive benefits from participating in the nutrition-sensitive education workshops.
In addition, with the support of the Head of Kesetnana village and a farmers' group, we established a community garden in Kesetnana village to provide the community members with access to sustainable and nutritious local food.
The project participants planted a variety of vegetables in the garden, including 150 moringa seedlings. Within three months, the vegetables have been successfully harvested three times. All harvests combined have resulted in around 75 kg of fresh vegetables, which were distributed to project participants.
THE BROADER IMPACT
The project has also led to sustained changes in the community, including:
1. The project participants were inspired by our local food-related activities. They stated that some of the identified local foods were something new for them and that some locally available plants in the village could be utilised as nutritious food. After we conducted the recipe development activities, they could apply the knowledge gained in their home kitchens.
2. The community garden establishment caught the attention of the head of Kesetnana village. He wanted to use some of the garden harvests as supplementary feeding for children during Posyandu monthly sessions. The head of Kesetnana village also expressed his support by allocating a village fund to continue this initiative.
3. Our interventions were designed to provide theoretical and practical knowledge on improving the health and nutritional intake of households with pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of two. Participants expressed that they never received any comprehensive interventions like this before. Some of them also stated that it was a life-changing experience since they got to know and learn many important things as mothers or soon-to-be mothers.
Solution & Project Implementation
Costs associated with the purchase of the solutions tested and project coordination
Monitoring & Evaluation
Costs associated with data collection, analysis and reporting
Cost of transferring payments internationally, processing online donations (5%) and a contribution to Kopernik's operational costs (15%)
This project is implemented by Yayasan Kopernik on behalf of our partner who provided grant funding for this project.