Breast Feeding Saves Lives

by Mercy Corps
Mar 5, 2012

Mercy Corps' Mother Support Groups Rapidly Expand in Jakarta

Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps' Mother Support Group Participants

Thanks to your support, Mercy Corps has launched its Mothers Support Group Project in Jakarta, helping improve the health and survival of thousands of children. 

Mercy Corps’ Mothers Support Group Project aims to improve the health and survival of children by creating supportive social, health service and policy environments for early and exclusive breastfeeding for babies from birth to six months. The support groups provide a nourishing environment for mothers to successfully practice the gold standard of infant and young child feeding from the first hour after birth up to 6 months of age and encourage continued breastfeeding combined with food up to 2 years or beyond.

The project has been a huge success and is now being replicated in 36 Jakarta neighborhoods reaching a population of approximately 2800. Mothers Support Groups consist of 10-15 pregnant women and mothers with children under 6 months who meet once every 2 weeks. Although this kind of peer support for breastfeeding is a new model, Mothers Support Groups is not a foreign idea to mothers in Indonesia, as the model works with the local custom of informal chats among mothers between daily domestic chores.

A total of 45 mentors and 205 motivators have been trained for the Mothers Support Group. Mentors are midwives in health centers and private practice and Community Health Volunteers from Women Empower Organization. The mentors’ role is to train motivators, visit the Mothers Support Groups, and assist the Groups in technical matters. Motivators are pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers (with babies 0-6 months old) and Community Health Volunteers. The motivators’ role is to lead the discussion in the Group meetings.

But there is still much more work to be done. Every second a child in Indonesia dies before reaching her 5th birthday. Millions more infants are at high risk of growth and mental retardation due to malnutrition. But there is an easy & inexpensive solution: Breastfeeding. An estimated 100,000 children in Indonesia under the age of 5 could be saved if all babies were exclusively breastfed in the first 6 months of life & continued breastfeeding until the age of 2 years.

Your continued support will help save even more lives in Jakarta. 

Mother Support Group Participants
Mother Support Group Participants
Participants Learn from Volunteer Coordinator
Participants Learn from Volunteer Coordinator



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Organization Information

Mercy Corps

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Carlene Deits
Portland, OR United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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