The Impact of Stunting on Indonesian Children
Indonesia, a G20 nation, experiences a high prevalence of malnutrition and is among the
five countries with the highest number of stunting cases globally.
The first 1000 days of a child’s life – from conception to age 2 – is an opportunity to establish a foundation for health, academic success and general wellbeing. It is also a period of great vulnerability. When a child’s nutritional needs are not met in this critical window, the baby is at risk for stunting and negative lifelong consequences.
A child’s brain begins to grow very early in pregnancy and develops at an astonishing rate. At the 4th week of pregnancy, the brain has an estimated 10,000 cells. By the 24th week, it contained 10 billion.
The mother’s nutrition and general health contribute significantly to this incredible transformation. Nutrients such as folic acid, iron, zinc, iodine, protein and fatty acids play a vital role in building a baby’s brain and the other vital organs. When one or more of these important building blocks are absent during gestation, the baby is at risk for developmental delays, congenital disabilities and cognitive deficits.
It is therefore imperative for women to receive proper care and nutrition both before and during pregnancy.
Stunting robs children of their full potential. It is also entirely preventable.
On average, stunted children perform worse at school than their non-stunted counterparts, are more likely to be unemployed as adults, and are at higher risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. They also remain vulnerable to the persistent cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Failure to act during the first 1000 days of a child’s life has irreversible effects on the individual and the economy. When that window closes, it closes for good.
The latest evidence indicates that training and equipping community health workers with tools, knowledge and confidence is the most sustainable path toward change.
Every day, 14,000 children are born across the world’s largest archipelago. More than 37% of these children are at risk for stunting. Mounting evidence suggests that the stunting penalty – the overall cost of childhood stunting among today’s workforce in Indonesia – is 10.5% of GDP.
A measure of severe malnutrition is a strong indicator of human capital development. Indonesia, a G20 nation, experiences a high prevalence of malnutrition and is among the five countries with the highest number of stunting cases globally. The country has acknowledged that stunting rates are at “crisis” levels, and it is now a national priority to reduce stunting by 14% by 2024.
Stunting and other persistent public health problems result from complex and interrelated factors. Health worker shortages, narrow interventions that neglect the broader health system, and actors lacking incentives and resources contribute. Until the more general issues are addressed, more than 5 million Indonesian children will be born each year to a life devastated by stunting.
Our Theory of Change
Evidence & Learning
of Indonesia to…
Develop, test, and innovate cost-effective and scalable solutions to end stunting in Indonesia.
Improve the quality, efficiency and scope of services delivered by community and frontline health workers by deploying tools, courses and systems.
Assist the government to scale up tools and training to enable community health workers to contribute at the community and district levels.
Maintain increased philanthropic and private sector investments to help poor and vulnerable communities.
…drive systems performance…
Assist Puskesmas and Posyandu in improving data collection by strengthening their health systems.
Improve the network of NGOs working to reduce stunting.
Increase the number of skilled, supervised, equipped, and empowered frontline health workers.
Ensure quality monitoring of stunting indicators.
Reduce stunting in some of Indonesia’s most remote regions.
How We Do It
There will be a day when Indonesian children no longer
suffer the devastating effects of stunting.
Our mission is to end stunting by 2030. Your support counts.