Isna Aulia Fajarini is a national UN Volunteer Nutrition Officer with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Indonesia. She supports the country's cost-effective nutrition programme for school-aged children – vitally needed for nutritional challenges among the youngest demographic in the country. An increase in the consumption of fast food and lack of physical activity has caused a shortfall in health and well-being, or Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number three. Without improving the nutritional status of school-age children, Indonesia risks losing its economic development momentum.
Isna Aulia Fajarini joined the UNICEF Nutrition Team in June 2021, after getting her master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. Her knowledge of anaemia, babies with low birth weight and obesity helps her provide substantive support to school-based nutrition programmes for children in Tegal District in Central Java.
The programme targets some 2,000 fourth graders and comprises various elements from student and teacher-led nutrition education to expanding de-worming programmes, and beyond.
Indonesia focuses on the reduction of stunting. There are limited public health interventions to improve the overall health of school-going children, a majority of whom suffer from obesity.
As project lead, Isna coordinates at the governmental level, provides technical guidance at the field level, and monitors and reports all programme-related activities. Together with stakeholders, she supported a training module of the nutrition programme for school-age children for School Health Revitalization.
Isna also developed and launched an online nutrition learning course for high-school teachers called Guru Belajar dan Berbagi Seri Remaja Sehat Jiwa dan Raga, accessed by more than 23,000 teachers across the country. In addition, she co-wrote a national nutrition programme implementation guide for district and school-level stakeholders, collaborated with adolescents to raise awareness of anaemia and provided technical assistance to several UNICEF research studies on maternal and out-of-school nutrition.
Through this assignment, I met champions who are passionate about children and adolescent nutrition and tirelessly work towards a common goal – to ensure Indonesian children grow in a healthier way. --Isna Aulia Fajarini, national UN Volunteer Nutrition Officer with UNICEF, Indonesia
Isna values people-to-people interaction and says her biggest reward is engaging with children from all over the country. Seeing the programmes of UNICEF change the lives of children motivates her to continue her advocacy to leave no child behind.
UNV created an opportunity for Isna to apply her expertise to improve the well-being of children in Indonesia. It also allows her to expand her network to various stakeholders who share similar views and goals in improving the health and nutritional status of children. --Airin Roshita, Nutrition Specialist with UNICEF, Indonesia
This article was prepared with the kind support of Online Volunteer Kathakali Das Bhaumik.