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To the west of Sumatra, and north of the Mentawai, lies the remote island of Nias, where all indicators of human wellbeing fall well below the national averages. However, because these hard to reach islands are far removed from the epicentres of Jakarta and Bali, they continue to receive insufficient support and basic services.
SurfAid specialises in working in remote areas in Indonesia. There is a saying that the aid stops where the road stops, but that’s where SurfAid begins.
These wave rich islands are top tier destinations for surf tourists, but at the bottom tier for service provisions and poverty. Stepping off the beach and into the small villages, a different Nias emerges. Nearly 60% of the population live in poverty or dangerously close to it. Poverty is one of the biggest contributors to food insecurity and malnutrition, and a key area of intervention for SurfAid.
This project will support economic development to further improve food security. Working across 37 villages (30,498 people) in the sub-districts of Hiliduho and Gido, Nias to secure year around access to sufficient food for a healthy life, improving mother and child long-term health.
Food security is a multi-dimensional concept. Agricultural production, nutrition, income, food quality, clean water, sanitation, feeding and caring practices all influence food security.
In this project SurfAid will focus on the income component.
In the remote villages where SurfAid works there is very limited economic activity. Most people on Nias are farmers who have traditionally grown rubber but the prices for rubber have collapsed, leaving the people destitute and desperate for alternative income generation activities.
61 groups of 311 farmers and health volunteers will receive coaching and training to start small businesses. By focusing on women who have been previously identified as leaders in their communities to start small businesses, SurfAid can mentor and coach those with great human potential and simultaneously improve gender equity.
Chicken farms, catfish farms, corn and chilli have been identified as the most appropriate commodities for economic development in the villages where SurfAid works.
This project will further support community health volunteers to become economically independent. In previous projects SurfAid worked with health volunteers (kaders) to improve the quality of basic health services in their villages. Kaders have been selected for their leadership qualities and commitment to improving the quality of life in their villages. This project enables SurfAid to continue to build the capacity of these women who’ve already demonstrated their willingness to learn.
Moreover, SurfAid employs ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ approach to all projects. While SurfAid provides technical expertise, a condition of support is ‘Gotong Royong,’ an Indonesian expression for voluntary community work.
SurfAid employs a local staff and recruits from within the villages where we work when possible. In all projects there is a strong focus on community engagement and ownership.
Food security depends on the availability of food, the access (physical and economic) to food and very importantly, how food is utilised. Food utilisation involves proper food processing and storage techniques, parenting, adequate applied nutrition knowledge and adequate health and sanitation services. SurfAid is successfully tackling several utilisation barriers; sanitation services and hygiene practices and improvements in basic health services for mothers and children which are now thriving.
SurfAid is implementing an overarching program that also implements clean water facilities and health education services.
This project continues on from another previously funded through Footprints, and is one of the many smaller projects that all contribute to supporting communities to become food secure.
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