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Project Background

SurfAid works in remote areas in Indonesia, where malnutrition is common. Sumba and Sumbawa are beautiful holiday and surfing destinations; however, under nutrition rates are much higher than national averages.  Behind the palms of some of the world’s top surfing destinations are villages so remote that basic government services don’t reach them. There is no clean water, health services, education or electricity.

In Sumba, 60% of children under five are underweight, malnourished or stunted, which is the single biggest contributor to the death of children under 5. In response to the unnecessarily high incidence of child death, SurfAid provides practical support like materials for water facilities, basic healthcare services, and nutrition gardens. However, it is through educating parents and changing behaviours that SurfAid achieves sustainable improvements in the health of children in remote areas. With the support of Footprints, SurfAid has been able to produce six community videos on healthy behaviours, such as exclusive breastfeeding, healthy sanitation practices and establishing nutrition gardens in remote communities. 

These videos will help promote health, and support behavior change.

Project Activities

SurfAid produced 4 videos for the communities in Parado, Sumbawa Island, and 2 videos for the communities in Laboya Barat, Sumba Island. Our experience shows our most effective outreach activities to be educational videos, which were made involving the communities themselves.

The different topics and content are all related to the different barriers to behaviour change. For instance, in Parado, a big barrier to adopting early and exclusive breastfeeding, was the perception that immediately after the baby is born, the father or a male representative of the family, must pray with the baby. Therefore, women were not given enough time to try the get the baby to breast feed. The midwives and health volunteers therefore decided to ask the religious leader to be part of a video that explained what exclusive and immediate breastfeeding is. With the religious leader involved, people now openly discuss the possibility of immediate breastfeeding.

The other topics of the educational videos are: Nutrition gardens, boiling water before drinking, family planning, exclusive breastfeeding and stopping open defecation.

Each story line was developed with health volunteers and SurfAid staff identifying the main barriers communities faced in adopting healthier behaviours. We then looked at how to turn these issues into simple, funny stories with each video lasting no longer than five minutes. The community health volunteers and community members then translated the story concept and initial script into the local language, and ensured it was suitable for the local culture.

Community Involvement

The video production involved many community members. With the help of local leaders and village health volunteers, we selected actors from the community, who were very happy and enthusiastic to participate. Other community members also helped by making their houses or gardens available for filming.

The videos are made in a soap opera style, which is very popular with the communities in Sumbawa and Sumba. It is clear from first showings that community members immensely enjoy watching a short movie in their local language that’s funny, deals with real issues and stars their neighbours!

The Posyandu is a monthly health activity run by the health volunteers where children under five and pregnant mothers receive basic health services. We trained the village health volunteers to use these educational videos during the education sessions for parents or caregivers in Posyandu. We also showed the videos during other community events or health-related public events such as Handwashing Day and National Health Day.

At the time of reporting, we have trained 75 community volunteers to use the videos as part of their educational activities. The early indicators are really positive… The community members LOVE the videos and the stars in their midst! 

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