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Kemal Jufri/Panos Pictures

Indonesia faces a double malnutrition burden: almost 40 percent of under-fives are stunted, and over 10 percent of under-fives – and 25 percent of adults – are overweight. Rapid urbanization means that 70 percent of Indonesians will live in cities by 2025. The informal food sector is vital to low-income city dwellers’ access to food: street vendors contribute nutritious food to urban diets irrespective of socio-economic status.

In Indonesia, SD4ALL supports the development of policies and practices that improve peoples’ access to healthy food. We focus on the availability and diversity of sustainable food sold by small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector, aiming to integrate their needs into local policy frameworks to ensure that regulatory environments actively support them. We also mobilize consumers to provide bottom-up support for improved diets, improve consumer awareness, and engage citizens in policy-making processes.

Indonesia Food Change Lab

In 2015, Hivos, IIED and local partners initiated a Food Change Lab to look at how low-income urban citizens can access safe, healthy food. A Change Lab is a multi-stakeholder innovation process designed to generate ideas for change and test these innovations on the ground. The Indonesia Food Change Lab focuses on access to affordable food in the city of Bandung in West Java. Bandung is a fast-growing city with a large proportion of low-skilled workers. Many of these workers depend on street food, but there are ongoing conflicts between these informal street vendors and local authorities concerned about safety and public order.

The Lab organised a series of multi-stakeholder discussions on the issue of safe, affordable food for low-income populations in Bandung. One of the first outcomes was the establishment of an independent association of street vendors in one area of the city, helping stall holders to organise and represent themselves to the government.

In 2017, Lab participants (including food experts from a range of institutions and community groups) identified the need for better two-way communication between informal food as a key issue. The Lab followed up with a multi-stakeholder meeting with the vendors and city governments to bring the two sides closer together.


Prototypes for change

The Lab also invited students at the Bandung Institute of Technology’s School of Business and Management to generate ideas for 'prototypes' to tackle this challenge. Prototypes are small-scale interventions to test potential solutions. The students, in collaboration with street food vendors, developed five prototypes to improve the working practices of food vendors. These included a special folding table, a hand soap dispenser and a water-saving dishwashing device. The students also proposed videos targeting the use of the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is often added to Asian foods, and a customer rating system for food stalls.

The Lab exhibited the prototypes at a talk show and exhibition, organised by Hivos, IIED and Laboratorium Riset Indie in November 2017. As a result of this publicity, local Health Office representatives suggested the Food Change Lab to represent Bandung's citizens on the Bandung Food Security Council.


A new generation for Indonesian food

The relationship between the Food Change Lab – now ended - and local government actors helped in setting up another platform, the New Generation of Indonesian Cooking (NGIC). This initiative aims to foster more sustainable food consumption among urban middle-income groups. The focus is on restaurant chains in shopping malls, food stalls and catering for businesses, government agencies, schools and hospitals. The Bandung Food Safety Agency has specifically asked for street vendors to be included in NGIC workshops.

During the last three years, the Indonesia Food Change Lab has brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including those not normally included in public consultation and policymaking, and it has successfully drawn the attention of local government to the value of inclusive multi-stakeholder platforms for tackling food issues in the city.

Hivos now maintains a collaboration the Bandung Food and Agriculture Agency (whose chair is the secretary of the Food Security Council) and the City Planning Agency for the organisation of multi-stakeholder platforms in Bandung (including NGIC), which will be expanded under the Switch Asia Local Harvest programme.


The Sustainable Diets for all Programme also runs food labs in BoliviaUganda and Zambia.

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