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close this bookEffective Communications for Nutrition in Primary Health Care (UNU, 1988, 208 p.)
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View the documentStatus report on nutrition communication activities in India
View the documentNutrition education in the Indonesian family nutrition improvement programme (UPGK)
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Nutrition education in the Indonesian family nutrition improvement programme (UPGK)

C. de Windt and T.M. Hill
UNICEF Jakarta Office, Jakarta, Indonesia

The Government of Indonesia, in co-operation with UNICEF, has developed and organized an extensive, multi-sectoral nutrition programme, entitled the Family Nutrition Improvement Programme (UPGK) in an attempt to alleviate malnutrition. The emphasis of UPGK is on local co-operation and community self-reliance. The slogan "A healthy child is a growing child" has been popularized. Monthly weighing is carried out and individual growth charts kept at home serve as nutrition surveillance tools. Village volunteers trained and supervised by local health officers play key roles in conducting various nutrition activities, including nutrition education. Government agencies are co-ordinated in the programme at all levels, from central to subdistrict.

UPGK's basic strategy is toward changing behaviour, with the ultimate objective that mothers will be aware of and improve their children's nutrition through better family feeding patterns and nutrition practices. To reach this objective, communication, information, and education efforts are carried out by all sectors involved in this pivotal approach. UNICEF provides technical expertise, scholars, and consultants, and organizes working meetings. All sectors involved are invited to participate from the early stages of the development of materials throughout the communication process.

In developing nutrition education and training materials, the same basic message and content units were included for the programme implementors and villagers. The specific guidelines for implementation are dependent upon the kinds of responsibilities of the field staff. This refers to vertical integrity. Moreover, to assure continuity and a unified interpretation, the same basic guidance is at the core of all training and promotional materials, and can be used cross-sectorally. The difference, for different sectors, is that the information is related to the field-worker's specific role and responsibilities. This is referred to as the horizontal integrity of a nutrition education approach.

To bridge the gap between training manuals and user materials, a "Handbook for Village Nutrition Volunteers" was developed for use by cadres. The presentation of the book in a comic-strip format with many drawings, step-by-step instructions, and simple questions and answers was readily accepted. Field testing confirmed that the book meets the need for "handson" material, reference and continual guidance, and orientation of cadres. It is at present widely used in both government and NGO project areas. The book has become a source for standard content and has been used for further development of training and education materials.

This is an effort at using adult education methods to develop a variety of nutrition education tools, materials, and games that keep reinforcing the basic set of messages. A joint communication strategy for systematic evolution of additional user materials has still to be designed.