Find out more about one of our flagship program, Early Childhood Care Nutrition and Education (ECCNE) in SEAMEO Agenda Magazine (SEAMAG)
Find out more about one of our flagship program, Early Childhood Care Nutrition and Education (ECCNE) in SEAMEO Agenda Magazine (SEAMAG)
On 23 July 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, SEAMEO RECFON has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Medical University (IMU) to collaborate in health and medical research on nutrition and food safety training in Southeast Asia.
The MoU was signed at the university’s Bukit Jalil campus by Prof Abdul Aziz Baba, Vice-Chancellor of IMU and Dr Muchtaruddin Mansyur, MD, Director of SEAMEO RECFON. Prof Winnie Chee, Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dean of IMU’s School of Health Sciences and Ms Dwi Yanti, MBiomed, SEAMEO RECFON Laboratory Supervisor served as witnesses in the MoU signing. The MoU is effective this year until 2021.
The main aims of the 3-year agreement are for IMU and SEAMEO RECFON to:
1) strengthen medical and health research and development;
2) jointly publish and present scientific data;
3) exchange research materials pertaining to nutrition and food safety; and
4) conduct joint training in the areas of nutrition and food safety.
The agreement would also accommodate staff, postgraduate research and student exchanges through field visits, internships, and attendance to courses and other learning events.
As initial collaborative activities lined up for this year, both parties will conduct a series of online lectures on nutrition, and implement a Training Needs Assessment towards designing a food safety curriculum and module development for Southeast Asian participants.
Prof Aziz remarked that as a research-focused institution that highly regards educational excellence, IMU is committed to spearheading new developments to transform education and healthcare in Malaysia.
“IMU strongly believes in grasping opportunities in promoting stronger research collaboration and knowledge transfer with international partners. We are aligning our goals to drive the national agenda to improve the standards and quality of nutrition and food safety in the country.
“This agreement with SEAMEO RECFON is therefore timely as we have begun 3 months of comprehensively training food handlers, operators and dietitians and will be looking to constantly refresh our course with new material based on international food safety guidelines and the latest regional research findings to equip students with the best skills and knowledge to operate professionally in their trade,” he added.
What sets IMU apart from other food safety training centres is that it is the first private university to be accredited to offer the course and students will benefit from food safety and HACPP being already ingrained in the course as part of N&D. IMU is also recognised for its quality and strict management with close monitoring of its own cafeteria and food handlers resulting in the university winning the national Healthy Cafeteria and BeSS award in 2017, a status that is maintained in recent audits.
In his speech, Dr Muchtaruddin Mansyur remarked that it is imperative to emphasize the importance and raise the standards of food safety and nutrition in the region given the changing food consumption behavior of people brought about by varied socio-economic and environmental factors. “There is a mistaken assumption that food contamination is inevitable in street foods. In Southeast Asia, millions of people depend on street foods as a source of nutrition”.
“However, consumers who are attracted by convenience and low prices may overlook aspects of hygiene or sanitation. Many food vendors and handlers lack an understanding of proper food-handling practices that are the potential causes for foodborne diseases.
“This collaboration with IMU is therefore a step forward in creating better awareness, solutions and opportunities for intervention and improvement of food safety through customised trainings and research in the SEA region,” he added.
The SEAMEO Council during its 50th meeting held in Kuala Lumpur recently took note of the progress and endorsed the regional implementation of SEAMEO RECFON’s flagship programmes on Nutrition Goes to School (NGTS) and Early Childhood Care, Nutrition and Education (ECCNE).
The updates on the NGTS and ECCCNE programmes were among the 18 working papers discussed by the 11 Ministers of Education of Southeast Asia during their annual meeting held at Sunway Resort Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 23-25 July 2019.
SEAMEO RECFON initiated the NGTS and ECCNE programmes in 2016 and 2017, respectively as its flagship programmes under its Second Five-Year Development Plant (Financial Year 2016/2017-2020/2021). These programmes particularly address SEAMEO Priority Areas No. 1 (i.e. Achieving Universal Early Childhood Care and Education) and No. 2 (i.e., Addressing Barriers to Inclusive Education). They are also aimed at strengthening of the prevention and control of double burden of nutrition problems in the SEA region and their impacts to the students’ cognitive and school performances.
Aimed at developing AWESOME (Active, Well-nourished, and Smart Of ME) school children through school-based nutrition interventions, the NGTS Programme consists of five major activities. These are (1) School Readiness Mapping, (2) Training of Trainers for school teachers and principals via online and face-to-face modes, (3) Establishing Healthy School Canteens and School Gardens for nutrition literacy, (4) Building and strengthening information management system for monitoring and evaluation of NGTS progress, and (5) Advocacy to mainstream NGTS Programme in school policies and regular school activities. The Programme adopts the DEPPIS framework which aims to strengthen the “Demand” through creating awareness and improving knowledge-attitude-practices of the students on good nutrition; “SuPply” through provision of healthy and nutritious foods in the school environment, “Policy” through establishing policies to support NGTS implementation in the school environment and “Information System” to monitor and document effectiveness of the programme.
As of 2019, SEAMEO RECFON has mapped 1,024 primary, junior and senior, and vocational schools in Indonesia as regards their readiness to implement the NGTS programme activities. The Centre has provided training on nutrition education both via face-to-face and online modes to 2,641 school teachers at all levels all over Indonesia. The Centre has also produced five manuals and 11 online course materials on nutrition education, school gardening, healthy school canteen, and school-based management to enrich learning process for its NGTS training activities.
On the other hand, the ECCNE Programme was conceived to provide an integrated model to optimize early childhood growth and development consisting of essential components, namely: parenting, early childhood care and education, health and nutrition, and policy and multi-sectoral partnerships. The Programme focuses on mapping the mapping of the health and nutrition competencies of early childhood education (ECE) teachers and development of ECCNE models for kindergarten, nursery and daycare children which also involves parents and community health centre workers. SEAMEO RECFON works with two other SEAMEO Centres for this Programme, namely: SEAMEO Regional Centre for Early Childhood Care Education and Parenting (CECCEP) in Indonesia and SEAMEO Regional Centre for Tropical Medicine (TROPMED).
After a year of implementation, the ECCNE Program has mapped 17,821 ECE teachers ECE teachers from 34 Provinces (484 districts) in Indonesia. It has also trained 680 mothers, 115 community health workers, 14 nutritionists and 42 ECE teachers from Bogor in West Java, Malang in East Java, Sambas in West Kalimantan, and Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara on nutrition education to prevent stunting and ECCNE in disaster-prone areas. The Programme has also produced flipchart on balanced nutrition for ECE teachers, food guideline “tumpeng gizi” game, picture story book, and a guidebook on ECCNE in disaster-prone areas.
For 35 years now, Indonesia has been celebrating its National Children’s Day every 23rd day of July since it was declared in 1984. The declaration is a reminder to all Indonesians to always recognize and respect children's rights. "The Role of Family in the Protection of Children" was a fitting theme for this year’s celebration. This theme reinforces the fact that a family has a critical responsibility in a child’s growth and development. The celebration this year was held at Lapangan Karebosi, Makassar and featured various activities involving different sectors. The active role of family and environment, however, is still wanting in Indonesia to enable children to realize their maximum potentials as human beings.
In the Malnutrition Conceptual Framework by UNICEF, negligent parenting is one of the factors causing malnutrition in children, along with the lack of access to food and health services as well as unhealthy environment. For this reason, support for optimal parenting for child growth is needed, both in the family and outside the family environment.
The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Food and Nutrition (RECFON) is a strong supporter of children’s rights particularly on their rights to good nutrition necessary for their proper growth and development. The Centre actualizes this through its Early Childhood Care, Nutrition, and Education (ECCNE) or Anakku Sehat dan Cerdas as one of its flagship programs.
This program is aimed to provide a model of integrated implementation of essential components to optimize child growth and development. These components, as indicated in the ECCNE Program Conceptual Framework and arranged in a form of a house, consist of 1) Enabling socioeconomic and cultural environments, 2) Parenting, 3) Care and Education, 4) Health and Nutrition, and 5) Policy and Multi-sectoral Participation.
The Centre collaborates with two other SEAMEO Centres for this program, namely: SEAMEO Regional Centre for Early Childhood Care Education and Parenting (CECCEP) and SEAMEO Regional Centre for Tropical Biology (TROPMED) network. The partnership believes that every child has the right to receive and demand for interventions from any of these components toward his/her optimal growth and development.
One of the health threats that confront a child daily is the danger of tobacco smoke exposure in a family setting. Exposure to second hand cigarette smoke has been considered as highly dangerous to the health of non-smokers. Family members who smoke at home or in their immediate house environment do not realize that cigarette smoke leaves toxic residues that could be inhaled by children everyday, known as thirdhand smoking. In addition, early initiation to smoking habits in the family could also influence children to become smokers. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites more than half of children (57.3%) aged 13-15 years are exposed to smoking habits within their home environment. This explains why the prevalence of child smokers continues to increase in the past few years. The Centre is currently engaged in a research project on tobacco tax allocation for nutritional program on resolving stunting to support this advocacy.
Through the ECCNE program, SEAMEO RECFON assists the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia in implementing Presidential Decree Number 60 of 2013 concerning the Holistic Integrative Early Childhood Education (ECE) concepts (PAUD HI). The Centre helps in strengthening the capacities of ECE PAUD teachers to create a conducive school environment for early childhood schoolers particularly in the aspect of food and nutrition.
Protecting children's rights is a shared responsibility within a family and by various sectors of the society. While a family may be regarded to play the greatest role to ensure optimal growth and development of children, support from government institutions, nongovernmental agencies, civil society groups, academe, and development organizations are certainly needed. SEAMEO RECFON stands tall to be counted on this aspect. As the saying goes, it takes one village to raise a child.
Find out more about one of our flagship program, Nutrition Goes to School (NGTS) in SEAMEO Education Agenda Magazine (SEAMAG)
SEANLP – Advanced SEANP Aiming to equip the potential nutrition leaders with competencies of leadership and updates on nutrition, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Food and Nutrition (SEAMEO RECFON) is going to hold the 13th Southeast Asian Nutrition Leadership Program (SEANLP) to fill the knowledge and skill gaps of participants who will be the next leaders in alleviating nutrition problems in Southeast Asia. This training provides opportunities to the participants to experience various activities, covering both outdoor and indoor sessions, such as team building, seminar, discussion, group work, case studies, and role play, as well as to encourage them to practice all leadership theories.
The 13th SEANLP invites all (potential) managers from leading nutrition institutions in 11 Southeast Asia countries to join the 5-days intensive workshop with core topic on effective leadership, communication, negotiation and advocacy in nutrition.
Along with that, this year SEAMEO RECFON will also conduct the 1st extension of the SEANLP program, called Advanced SEANLP. The 1-day intensive workshop is designed to improve the communication and negotiation skills in nutrition of the nutrition leaders for SEANLP alumni or mid-high level managers from leading nutrition institutions across South East Asia (max. 45 years old).
June 20th 2019
Registration deadline for 13th SEANLP
July 1st 2019
Registration deadline for 1st Advanced SEANLP
July 29th – August 2nd 2019
August 2nd 2019
1st Advanced SEANLP
USD 1500 (for industry)
USD 850 (for government/NGO/academe)
USD 200 (for Advanced SEANLP)
Alumni Gathering RECFON SEAMEO has a long history since its initial placement at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia (UI) in 1967. Started as SEAMEO-Tropical Medicine, the Centre became a national center for regional training and research in Applied Nutrition Science. History has marked the transformation of the Centre into a part of the SEAMEO TROPMED Network, the SEAMEO TROPMED RCCN (Regional Center for Community Nutrition) UI in 1992 and became the full Centre namely SEAMEO RECFON on January 27, 2011.
Through its face-to-face and online training courses, the Centre has built the capacities of over 5,000 professionals which include university and school teachers, researchers, community development workers and program managers from government and non-government sectors who are engaged with food and nutrition as well as health related activities in Southeast Asia region. The large number of alumni is an asset not only for establishing a functional network of experts but also for strengthening strong alumni ties.
Therefore, the alumni gathering is a home-coming event designed to bring together the alumni of SEAMEO Tropmed RCCN UI/SEAMEO RECFON to share the memories and the new updates of each other, as well as to form a potential network.
The event is held back-to-back after the 1st Advanced SEANLP, on August 3rd, 2019. The venue will take the memorable building of SEAMEO RECFON at UI Campus Salemba Jakarta. Special rundown is prepared that will stimulate togetherness, bring back all sweet memories, but also provide some updates with the current trend of sustainable development and 4.0 era. Satisfaction guaranteed!!! The event is free but you must first register. So, what are you waiting for?
A recent commitment on a collaborative research lead by the London International Development Centre (LIDC) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) under Action Against Stunting Hub puts SEAMEO RECFON's one of the flagship programs called Early Childhood Care, Nutrition, and Education (ECCNE) on the international spotlight as this collaboration will be undertaken in India, Indonesia, and Senegal.
Read more about this interdisciplinary collaborative research here
Here is the full partner lists of other UKRI GCRF Global Interdisciplinary Research Hubs
The high prevalence of under and overnutrition problems that are further recognized as the triple burden of diseases in the recent Global Nutrition Report 2017 is the manifestations of the increasing unhealthy behaviors which include the long-standing habit of low-quality diet. The latest Basic Health Research (RISKESDAS) data in 2018 show that vegetable consumption is not improving as compared to the situation in 2013 where more than 90% of Indonesians over the age of 10 years consumed vegetables less than recommended. The Community Movement for Healthy Life (Gerakan Masyarakat Hidup Sehat - Germas) which has incorporated massive campaigns on vegetable and fruit consumption since 2017 should be more encouraged to affect all levels of the society.
In line with the celebration of the 54th National Health Day this year, the Government of Indonesia through the Ministry of Health initiated a series of activities with the theme "Aku cinta sehat: Ayo hidup sehat, mulai dari kita", which translates as I love to be healthy, let’s have a healthy life, starting from ourselves. This theme emphasizes the importance of raising awareness to the public about healthy lifestyle including maintaining a balanced diet and routine physical activities.
In this occasion, SEAMEO RECFON received a visit from young visitors from TK Persiapan of Duren Sawit Jakarta on November 14th, 2018. They are kindergarten school children aged around 4-6 years. This short visit embraced nutrition education sessions through playing, singing and dancing that conveyed a message on a balanced diet. After an introduction of healthy and nutritious foods, the program is followed by a gardening activity. Some parents who also attended the visit felt grateful since the program involved some useful and practical activities, not only for the children to understand the practice of balanced diet from an early age, but also for parents as food providers at home. The activity of planting various vegetable seeds was regarded as very exciting by the children. They also looked proud when they brought home the planted seed as a souvenir from this activity. The school principal also emphasized that utilizing the curiosity sense of this young children to introduce the concept of balanced nutrition at early age was one effective method of learning.
Investment in nutrition education targeted to early age group is one of the priorities at SEAMEO RECFON. This initiative will be further enhanced with the collaboration among SEAMEO RECFON, HIMPAUDI and the Directorate of Early Childhood and Community Education Ministry of Education RI. Recently, SEAMEO RECFON and HIMPAUDI started a national assessment called Uji Kompentensi Gizi (UKG) on October 18th, 2018 (10.18.18) among early childhood teachers specifically on nutrition competency. The result of this assessment will be teacher’s competency mapping for further program design such as capacity building to enhance teachers’ competency in delivering health and nutrition messages effectively to the children and their parents.