Foodbank of Indonesia to feed 50,000 hungry toddlers

(Photo: Aslam Iqbal/IO)

IO, Jakarta – “1000 Mothers Act for Indonesia” was declared in a virtual commemoration on August 17; it was attended by Foodbank of Indonesia (FOI) volunteers and around 500 toddlers from 45 points of FOI’s work area. The launch and press conference was also attended by mothers, Lenny N Rosalin S.E, M.Sc, M.Fin, Deputy Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection for Child Development of Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Prof. Dr. Ir Eni Hermayani, M.Sc, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology UGM, the business world represented by JNE and ASDP, media and bloggers. 

The declaration was carried out symbolically in Pandeglang, Jakarta and Banyuwangi, followed by mothers in various regions with the determination to open access to food and fight hunger in children under five. The campaign, which targets 50,000 children, will run from 15 August to 22 December 2020. 

Food is the most basic human need and its fulfillment is part of human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic that has hit Indonesia is estimated to push up the poverty rate. The pandemic causes people’s incomes to drop drastically and of course, causes disruption of access to food for families. 

In fact, even before the pandemic, Indonesia was facing a serious hunger problem (Global Hunger Index, 2019). There are two distinct kinds of hunger, namely, hunger due to poverty and hidden hunger. Hunger due to poverty causes around 27% of children to go to school on an empty stomach, while hidden hunger is a phenomenon of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can lead to stunting (FOI Survey Results, 2020) 

Commemorating the 75th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia, Foodbank of Indonesia (FOI) invited the public to move with the spirit of nationalism to strive to liberate toddlers from hunger in the “1000 Mother Act for Indonesia” movement, defined as a campaign that invites Indonesian mothers (cadres, paud, prospective mothers, experts, academics) to open up access to food and fight hunger in children under five in Indonesia, in the quest to achieve the dream of a 100% independent nation. 

According to the FOI Founder Hendro Utomo, the series of “1000 Mother’s Action for Indonesia” began with a 100% Free Expedition that passed through 7 provinces and covered a distance of more than 2,500 km. The expedition, using motorized transportation, started August 15 and aims to conduct field observations about the diet of toddlers from the west to the east of Java. The dialogue was also carried out with volunteers and mothers regarding the issue of hunger in children under five and the efforts being made to combat this hunger. 

“From the results of field observations, the pandemic situation has made it more difficult for toddlers to get access to proper food. Many of our toddlers experience hunger, malnutrition, and even stunting. We must move together to free Indonesian toddlers from hunger so that they can develop into to the nation’s next generation, growing and developing well because toddlers are the nation’s future,” said Hendro. 

The event to commemorate Indonesian Independence Day virtually as well as the launch of the “1000 Mother’s Action for Indonesia” campaign, is the next series to build awareness of the whole community about the importance of this issue. In the virtual event, volunteers and children were seen enthusiastically following the ceremony, declaration, and distribution of food, while adhering to the COVID-19 protocol. 

Deputy Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection for Child Development and Development of Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection Lenny N. Rosalin expressed her support. “I support the efforts of the Foodbank of Indonesia (FOI) to assist the community in finding solutions through redistribution of excess food as an effort to open access to food for vulnerable groups, including toddlers. Cooperation between institutions is very important to ensure the convergence of all programs related to stunting prevention, especially to increase the coverage and quality of specific nutrition interventions and sensitive nutrition interventions in groups of pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children aged 0-23 months or the first 1,000 days of life.” Lenny explained. 

Representing academics in the field of food, Prof. Dr. Ir. Eni Hermayani, M.Sc, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology, University of Gadjah Mada, is ready to support this action through the collaboration that has previously been established between FOI and FTP UGM. “Success for FOI who initiated the 1000 Mother Action for Indonesia,” she declared. 

Hendro hopes that this campaign and action can inspire all parties to collaborate by their respective fields to support toddlers who are the future of Indonesia. “Hopefully the cooperation of all parties can lead Indonesia to achieve the dream of independence, 100% Independence,” concluded Hendro.