Sumbawa Programme Delivers Above and Beyond

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Photo By: Sri Armawati

Sumbawa, an island in Eastern Indonesia, experiences high rates of poverty, poor health indicators, low government revenue, and some of the worst mother and child mortality rates in South East Asia.

Since 2013, with the support of donors like you, SurfAid has brought a successful Mother and Child Health (MCH) programme to 2,601 households in Sumbawa.

Just over the hill and through the jungle from world renowned Lakey Peak, SurfAid has partnered with families in Parado sub-district to:




- Build 92 water wells- Improve sanitation with latrines

- Teach basic hygiene and improve rates of hand washing from 1% to 67% 

- Decrease diarrhoea rates in children from 35% to 0.4%

- Establish 15 well-equipped community health posts with well-trained staff

-Increase prenatal care attendance for pregnant women from 28% to 94%

- Increase rate of exclusive breastfeeding from 23% to 66%- Create 150 family nutrition gardens

- Reduce the rate of underweight children under five from 27% to 20%






  • Photo By:  Nurlaila

    SurfAid has worked alongside communities to construct 92 water wells and 2 gravity-fed systems, giving 9,619 people access to clean water less than 30 metres (100 feet) from their homes for the first time. The water facilities were built by the community; and are now owned and managed by community water committees, trained in their operation and maintenance. Pipelines of up to 9 km (5.5 miles) were built with our engineers and an incredible 18,700+ hours of community labour were given to achieve this goal!

    Before SurfAid’s programme, 75% of sporadically available water sources were contaminated by e-coli. SurfAid uses the established Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach, a best practise strategy to engage rural communities on sanitation issues (such as open defecation) to motivate people to construct and use their own latrines. In October 2016, the local government officially declared every village in Parado sub-district as Open Defecation Free (ODF). Parado, one of the most remote and underserviced sub-districts is only the second sub-district in the Nusa Tenggara Barat Province (population 4.5 million) to be declared ODF.


    Photo By: Rifaid

    Complementary to building water facilities and latrines, SurfAid promotes hand washing, which can prevent one out of every three cases of diarrhoea in children. We’ve introduced a simple hand washing facility called the ‘tippy tap’ that is suitable to areas where there is no running water; it is easy to make with local materials, and fun for children. As a result, the practise of hand washing has improved from 1% to 67%.

    Because of latrines, waste no longer contaminates the drinking water, and because community members have been trained in positive sanitation behaviours, the incidence of diarrhoea among children under five has decreased from 35% to 0.4%.

    Improving mother and child health in isolated Indonesian villages requires adequately equipped health facilities that are staffed by well trained health-workers. These people must be motivated to deliver appropriate health services in a positive environment, and mothers and caregivers must understand and practise these health promoting behaviours.

    SurfAid recognises that achieving long-term behaviour change requires the support of all those who surround and influence mothers including husbands, in-laws, community health volunteers, religious and community leaders, and government staff. SurfAid pairs education and outreach with our Mother & Child Health Programme to remove barriers to behavioral change.

    Photo By: Sri Armawati

    With this improved support network, the percentage of pregnant women seeking and receiving prenatal care has increased from 28% to 94%. SurfAid’s community health volunteers educate and support women in their communities about maternal and child health issues that are national priorities: birth spacing, antenatal care, clean birthing, giving birth with a health professional, immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, early identification and proactive management of malnourishment, identification and community-based treatments for diarrhoea and pneumonia, malaria prevention, and basic hygiene.

    There have been many improvements in the practice of healthy behaviours for mothers and children. One such result, the rate of immediate and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has increased from 23% to 66%.

    SurfAid has worked with communities to establish vegetable gardens and seed banks, and improve family nutrition through cooking classes. 150 households now have their own nutrition gardens, and the rate of underweight children under the age of five has reduced from 27% to 20% and continues to decrease.


    Photo By: Akmah

    On behalf of the mothers, children and their families in Sumbawa, terima kasih (thank you)! These amazing, life-saving results are not possible without your support!