The Life of Indonesian Cadres

Nov 18, 2016 7:15 AM ET

Door to door. Every day. That’s the life on an Indonesian cadre.

Cadres are a group of health volunteers that work in their local Indonesian communities to educate families about keeping their infants and young children healthy and safe.

A 2015 malnutrition mapping survey conducted by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) revealed that 36% of Indonesian children under age five are stunted, a condition that affects a child’s brain and body when they don’t get the appropriate food or nutrients.  That equates to 8,900,000 children.  The survey also found that 33% of these same children are anemic, and 20% show an insufficient Vitamin A status.

Cadres live in the communities they serve. They go door to door, and in cooperation with governmental community health centers (PUSKESMAS) and integrated health programs (POSYANDU), they work to connect and train families on basic health services, especially for their kids. Nutrition is one of the key components of their daily work.

One of the tools cadres are using in their nutrition education is Nutrilite Little Bits, a micronutrient powder, to give undernourished children (ages 6 months to 5 years) the essential nutrients they need to grow and develop a healthier brain and body. Each 1-gram packet of Nutrilite Little Bits includes 15 vitamins and minerals, and when mixed with food once a day, the powder gives a child under the age of 5 the essential nutrients to survive, thrive and grow.

Nopi, mother of 3-year old Abit, found out about the program and had her son assessed. “When we started, Abit was not active or talkative,” she said. “Now, in only four months, his physical and brain health is greatly improved.”

In an apartment on the east side of Jakarta, Suryana (Nopi’s cadre), checks in daily to monitor the implementation and progress of Abit’s health, as well as other neighbors that participate in the program.

“Close monitoring of a child’s development is the key,” said Suryana. “Parents are happy to be included in this program because they can see the dramatic results in their children.”

Nutrilite Little Bits has been integrated into the cadre’s nutritional regimen for the past six months.  The program started in March 2016 when Yayasan Amway Peduli (Amway Care Foundation) signed a memorandum of agreement with the Health Office of Jakarta Province to help more than 150 children in west, east and north Jakarta.  

Rossy Waworuntu, chairman of Yayasan Amway Peduli has overseen the implementation of the Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign.

“We partnered with the government and the local community to gain access to those families who need the program the most,” Waworuntu said. “They trust us and have a genuine interest in the success of the program.”

As a result, cadres report children being more active, not getting sick as easily, and having healthier immune systems. Parents are also more conscious of their child’s health and are providing more nutritional food options.

Another cadre, Eka, works with four families every day to help explain how the program works, what the product does, and to assess each child. “When they start, most kids are not active and don’t like to eat food,” she shared. “In just a few short months, they are happier, talkative, and show regular improvement.”

“The biggest compliment we receive is having parents asking if they can continue with the program,” said Waworuntu.  “Now, additional parents are asking how they can get involved in the program.”

By providing Indonesian families with access to nutrition education, assessment, and supplementation, cadres are placing power into the hands of mothers, families, and communities to dramatically impact the issue of childhood malnutrition. 

Indonesian cadres are making a difference – one door at a time.