Indonesia Timor Zero Hunger
Timor Tengah Selatan District, West Timor
Household farming, by which nearly all families in West Timor subsist, lacks diversity. Corn, cassava and bananas are core crops and since most areas produce only one crop each year, there is never enough food for a basic, nutritious diet. Because poor subsistence-farmer families also cannot afford to buy additional nutritious food, many families experience hunger and malnourishment quite often, especially during yearly hungry season. This season begins as early as September or October and falls prior to corn and rice harvests, which are typically in March or April.
West Timor therefore suffers from chronic food insecurity: many children under age 5 suffer from malnutrition and its primary effect, stunting. In addition to limited access to nutritious food, poor access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation, plus low quality and inaccessible health care services, contribute to the high burden of malnutrition.
In response, the Timor Zero Hunger program helps families improve their household food security by increasing people’s access to information, education and training about farming techniques, tools and seeds for vegetables to diversify and improve their diets. With additional small-scale infrastructure improvements, such as protected wells and springs, safe water storage tanks, and hygiene and sanitation education, the Timor Zero Hunger initiative supports improved health, nutrition and well-being.
Timor Zero Hunger also provides continuing education and training for government health post volunteers, promotes community-based health and nutrition improvements and supports a Therapeutic Feeding Center, which provides intensive – and sometimes life-saving – treatment for severe acute malnutrition. The TFC also supports weight monitoring and cognitive and motor stimulation, helping young children survive and thrive, while helping parents learn how to get through the annual hungry season and give their children a chance for better health.