SEAMEO RECFON joined the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture (CMHDC) of Indonesia, the World Food Program (WFP)-Indonesia, and Cargill in organizing a Strategic Policy Dialogue on Nutrition for School-aged Children on 8 November 2022 held at the CMHDC’s Heritage Room in Jakarta.

The event was meant to reach a common understanding of existing nutrition policies for school-age children and identify strategies and opportunities among multisectoral stakeholders to enhance the implementation of Indonesia’s National Action Plan on Improvement of the Well-being of School-aged Children and Adolescents (RAN PIJAR 2022) and School Health Program (UKS/M) in primary and secondary schools through effective use of existing resources, programs, and coordination mechanisms.

At the plenary session, SEAMEO RECFON’s Community Development and Partnership Unit Manager, Dr. Dr. Luh Ade Ari Wiradnyani, presented the results of the Centre’s study on the Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Nutrition of School-aged Children.  The study revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic triggered less diverse food consumption in children, and relatively high consumption of sugary drink. Good perception of schools and parents on their roles in supporting children’s healthy dietary practices is hampered by their insufficient nutrition knowledge and source of information.  The national policies and programs that support good dietary practices of school-aged children needs to be strengthened particularly in term of coverage of issues, approach, socialization and implementation.  WFP-Indonesia and Cargill commissioned SEAMEO RECFON to conduct this study in 2022.

Other plenary speakers were Mrs Jelsie Natalia Marampa, MHDC’s Assistant Deputy Director for Nutrition Security and Health Promotion, and Mr. Kurniawan, representative from the Primary School Directorate of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (MoECRT) of Indonesia. Mrs Jelsie presented her ministry’s strategies in engaging multisectoral stakeholders to improve the nutritional status of school-aged children through the RAN PIJAR. On the other hand, Mr. Kurniawan shared MoECRT’s roadmap and development strategies for balanced nutrition practices for school-aged children as one of the Healthy School Campaign highlights.

The event solicited ideas from the attendees through two group discussion sessions.  The first discussion group,  facilitated by Ms Patricia Norimarna from the WFP, focused on identifying strategies to strengthen school and family-based nutrition education for school-aged children.  The second discussion group dealt on determining ways to strengthen access of school-aged children to nutritious and safe foods. SEAMEO RECFON’s Training Unit Manager, Dr. Judhiastuty Februhartanty, facilitated the second discussion group.