NICE Project prepares for midterm evaluation by ADB

The PRIMEX Project Management Consultant (PMC) Team for the ADB-funded Nutrition Improvement through Community Empowerment (NICE) Project (Loan No. 2348-INO) is currently in the thick of preparations for the project midterm review by ADB in May 2011.

The $71-million NICE Project was designed to help Indonesia achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 (to reduce by half the number of underweight children under 5 by 2015) and related MDGs. Its intended impact is the strengthening of community-based services, community empowerment, and social mobilization for improved nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation. It aims to reduce and prevent malnutrition among about 1.48 million Indonesian children under 5 years and 500,000 pregnant and lactating women in about 4,000 urban poor villages in 24 districts and cities in the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, South Sulawesi, and West Kalimantan.

Malnutrition in Indonesia remains a significant public health problem for both urban and rural populations, and the problem has worsened since decentralization in 2000. The prevalence of underweight children increased from 24.6% in 2000 to 28% in 2005, which implies that about 5 million children under 5 years have compromised growth and cognitive and behavioral development. It is now widely recognized that childhood malnutrition will lead to poor school enrollment and achievements and pose a long-term threat to girls’ reproductive health and adult productivity.

In Indonesia’s Medium Term Development Plan (2004–2009), reducing malnutrition is identified as a pillar of socioeconomic development. In response to the nutrition crisis in early 2005, MOH developed a National Action Plan on the Prevention of Severe Malnutrition (2005–2009), which identified reducing prevalence of malnutrition to below 20% and severe malnutrition to below 5% by 2009 as priorities for reducing poverty and vulnerability.

The Project was evaluated “at risk” by ADB due to a two-year delay in its implementation and a very low disbursement rate. With technical and project management support provided by the PRIMEX Team led by Dr. Jose R. Rodriguez, Team Leader/Nutrition Policy and Program Support Specialist, since January 2010, the NICE Project has now been taken out of the “at risk” category.

Other PRIMEX consultants include Dr. Florante Magboo, Nutrition Surveillance Specialist, Mr. Henry Briones, Nutrition Training Specialist, and Ms. Rita Kemalawati, Food Fortification Specialist. These international consultants work in close collaboration with a team of national consultants fielded by PT Trans Intra Asia (TIA), a prominent Indonesian consulting firm that has been PRIMEX’s associate in all of its completed and ongoing projects in Indonesia.