JAKARTA, June 20 (JDN.id) – The World Bank said on Thursday its Board of Executive Directors approved two new loans to help fund Indonesian government projects related to offering better nutrition for children and modernizing irrigation systems.
The Washington-based lender said it approved $400 million loan investing in nutrition and early years program that seeks to reduce stunting by boosting access for pregnant mothers as well as children under two years old to have access to health services, nutrition, education and sanitation.
This loan is intended to support Indonesia’s $14.6 billion national strategy program to accelerate stunting prevention. It is aimed to benefit 48 million pregnant mothers as well as children under two in the next four years.
The World Bank said this program will also get support from a $20 million grant from the Global Financing Facility, which is a multi-stakeholder partnership helps countries tackle health and nutrition problems for women, children and adolescents.
The multilateral lender also approved a $250 million loan to help fund government-initiated Strategic Irrigation Modernization and Urgent Rehabilitation projects that is aimed to help about 887,000 farming households. The projects seek to offer a more reliable and climate-resilient irrigation system.
This irrigation project is co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with a $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,” Rodrigo A. Chaves, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
The World Bank said stunting is one of the most urgent challenges for Southeast Asia’s largest economy with more than one out of every three Indonesian children under five years of age, which is equivalent to almost nine million children are stunted. It said two out of three do not complete the full package of immunizations in their first and second year; while iron supplementation and de-worming are also low at 33 and 26 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, with regards to its loan on infrastructure, the World Bank said Indonesia is a country highly vulnerable to climate change effects, with 60 percent of the poor, or those who make less than $1.25 per day are dependent on agriculture for their income.
The multilateral lender said improved irrigation is “critical” to enhance the country’s food security. The World Bank said new irrigation project will focus on rehabilitation as well as modernization of drainage systems in nearly 300,000 hectares of area.
“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,” the lender said in the statement.