The visit aimed to observe the implementation of the Government of Australia’s Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVAS) Program and the World Bank’s Investing in Nutrition and Early Years (INEY) Program in East Sumba. During the visit, they met with Head of East Sumba District, Gidion Mbiliyora, and other key local government representatives as well as schools and communities.

Through the INOVASI Program, the governments of Australia and Indonesia are partnering to understand how to improve student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy in diverse schools and districts across Indonesia. INOVASI pilot activities focus on how to improve literacy and numeracy learning in primary schools, especially the early grades, through strengthening classroom practice, improving support to teachers and ensuring that all children in the classroom are able to learn. All parts of the pilot planning and implementation process, including lessons learnt, are evaluated, documented and shared.

Meanwhile, stunting is one of the most urgent challenges that Indonesia is currently facing. Almost nine million children or more than one out of every three Indonesian children under the age of five are stunted. The Government’s National Strategy to Accelerate Stunting Prevention (StraNas Stunting) is a step towards in the right direction. The World Bank’s Program for Results (PforR) INEY Program provides the incentives and tools to improve the efficiency and impact of central, district and village spending on stunting reduction.

The visit started on March 27th with a visit to Kambatatana Village to observe the efforts villages to converge maternal health, nutrition, water and sanitation, early childhood education and social protection interventions on women and children in the crucial first 1,000 days of life. Messrs Cox and Chaves also engaged with several Human Development Workers as they play a key role in identifying gaps in service delivery, raising awareness and changing behaviors. They also learned first-hand the experiences of the beneficiaries of these initiatives who are also recipients of the social assistance programs.

On March 28th, Mr Cox and Mr Chaves visited SD Kapunduk primary school in East Sumba, a partner school with the Innovation for Indonesia’ School Children (INOVASI) program. At the school, they observed teaching and learning in the classroom and spoke with teachers and principals. SD Kapunduk is a participant in INOVASI’s mother language transition and literacy pilot in East Sumba.

Following the field visit, Mr Cox and Mr Chaves attended a lunch meeting with the East Sumba Bupati, Gidion Mbiliyora. This meeting was an opportunity to discuss a range of issues, including the district’s strategy to support stunting prevention and INOVASI’s literacy work in the district.

Said Mr Cox, “the INOVASI program is an important partnership between the Australian and Indonesian governments. We have been working together for more than 10 years to strengthen the education system in Indonesia. We believe that the quality of education is very important for Indonesia, and can contribute directly to human and community development, as well as a healthy and productive workforce. INOVASI pilots on Sumba Island are finding out what does and doesn’t work to improve teaching and learning. Together, we can strengthen literacy learning outcomes in classrooms.”

“The World Bank Indonesia continues to support the Government of Indonesia’s efforts to reduce poverty in the country and ensure that more people benefit from the progress and positive results of the development thus far,” said Mr Chaves. “Further, because every US dollar spent on reducing stunting will generate US$ 48 in economic return, the concerted efforts by different sectors to ensure the National Strategy’s high quality and impactful implementation is particularly important.”