WASHINGTON, KalderaNews.com – Better nutrition for millions of Indonesian children and modernized irrigation systems for hundreds of thousands of Indonesian farming families are the key goals from two new loans approved today by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors to finance government projects.
The US$400 million loan Investing in Nutrition and Early Years Program seeks to reduce stunting by increasing access for pregnant mothers and children under two years old to key services, from health and nutrition to education and sanitation. This loan, which will link disbursements to specific results, will support the country’s US$14.6 billion National Strategy to Accelerate Stunting Prevention that aims to benefit 48 million pregnant mothers and children under two years old in the next four years. In the entire country the program will also benefit from a US$20 million grant from the Global Financing Facility, a multi-stakeholder partnership that is helping countries tackle the greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women, children and adolescents.
The US$250 million loan financing the Strategic Irrigation Modernization and Urgent Rehabilitation Project will benefit around 887,000 farming households through a more reliable and climate-resilient irrigation system. This financing is part of an ongoing National Reform Agenda that focuses on decentralization, democratization, and modernization and is based on the principles of participatory irrigation management. This irrigation project is co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with a US$250 million loan.
“We welcome the Government of Indonesia’s significant investments in infrastructure and in human capital, both of which are crucial to accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty. If the country invests on these two priorities now, its future will be more promising,” said Rodrigo A. Chaves, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste to KalderaNews. “World Bank financing will be complemented by crucial knowledge, including best practices and lessons learned from around the world that will help make efforts to reduce stunting and improve irrigation more effective.”
Stunting is one of the most urgent challenges in Indonesia and a top priority for the government. More than one out of every three Indonesian children under five years of age — almost nine million children — are stunted; two out of three don’t complete the full package of immunizations in their first and second year; and iron supplementation and deworming are also low at 33 and 26 percent, respectively.
In Indonesia, a country highly vulnerable to climate change effects, 60 percent of the poor — those who earn less than US$1.25 per day — rely on agriculture for their income. Improved irrigation in agriculture is therefore critical to enhance food security in the country. The new irrigation project will focus on rehabilitation and modernization of drainage systems in nearly 300,000 hectares and will support overall project management and implementation, focused on increased accountability, transparency and cost effectiveness.
The World Bank’s support to Indonesia’s nutrition sector and irrigation are important components of the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework for Indonesia, which focuses on government priorities for transformational development impact. (JS)