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Sumba island in Indonesia is an amazing tourist destination. It hosts one of the best hotels in the world and has fantastic waves for surfing.
But it also has extremely high rates of poverty and stunting. Stunting is one of the most extreme indicators of malnutrition, resulting from long-term nutritional deprivation. Poverty and stunting in Sumba are driven and exacerbated by low agricultural productivity that is further impacted by an eight-month dry season.
The poverty rate for the for Laboya Barat sub-district is 63%. A further 20% of the population are ‘near-poor’ and extremely vulnerable to shocks.
This poverty and vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks causes a negative cycle where poor farmers are less able, and less willing, to invest in agriculture activities, as they think it is risky.
Low productivity means there is less food crops available for consumption, which contributes to poor diet, poor health and malnutrition. At the same time, less cash crops are available for sale, contributing to low income, which also reduces economic access to food.
Agriculture is the main source of food and income in the program area, where approximately 90% of the population are farmers.
Rainfall-dependent agriculture is the backbone of the communities. Unfortunately, the dry season lasts at least 8 months, and rain fall patterns have become very unpredictable.
This Footprints project will ensure year-round access to water for irrigation of currently unusable dry land. A solar powered irrigation system will increase access to farmable land for communities that still experience a ‘hungry season’ each year.
SurfAid will implement this small-scale solar energy powered irrigation system in a demonstration farm. will serve as training grounds for communities where new technologies and techniques such as inter cropping, multi cropping, and good agricultural practices will be introduced. This will to help increase their yield and provide access to nutritious crops.
Many farmers think vegetables are difficult to grow, and don’t believe they are profitable. Combined with the current lack of farmable land and lack of year-round access to water, it means that there is very low physical availability of vegetables. The demonstration farm will help to show that growing vegetables is both good for nutrition, and profitable.
Additional focus will be on parenting techniques that include nutrition, female empowerment and a woman’s impact on family income, individual caring capacity and female energy expenditure.
The $20,000 raised by the Footprints Network will go towards the following activities:
SurfAid practices an accompaniment approach to development which consists of SurfAid staff living and working alongside community members for the duration of the project. This ensures the training needs are continuously addressed through direct coaching and mentorship. It also means that the community members are active stakeholders and participants in this project.
SurfAid will work specifically with farmer groups, women groups and the community health volunteers (kader).
Following SurfAid’s previous health programmes’ successes in advocating for health outreach services and availability of midwives, we will use the same approach in working together with the local government to ensure enough extension staff are available, adequately trained, and with sufficient budget to travel as required to ensure sustainability.
SurfAid works in remote islands in Indonesia, where access to basic services is very low, contributing to high maternal and child mortality, and low mother and child health status. Indonesia is one of ten countries with the highest number of under-five deaths
This project is part of an overarching program called NusaTani (farming islands in Indonesian). The Nusatani project will focus on increasing income and decreasing malnutrition for 19,202 people in Laboya Barat, Sumba and Parado, Sumbawa in Indonesia. Both areas have extremely high rates of poverty and stunting. To combat this, SurfAid will implement activities to strengthen agricultural production, stimulate income generation, promote healthcare practices, and gender equity.
SurfAid uses a Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture approach (NSA) which aims to address underlying determinants of malnutrition by focusing on agriculture and behavior change.
This projects is one of the many smaller projects that all contribute to supporting the communities to become more food sufficient.