SurfAid International Celebrates 10 Years of Humanitarian Work

Humanitarian organization SurfAid International is proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year after starting with a small malaria program in one village in the Mentawai Islands, off Indonesia’s Sumatran coast, in 2000. “By living in a pilot village in the remote Mentawai Islands we soon learned that by using drama and song we could facilitate behavior change among the community. Within nine months we had more than 90 per cent of the village sleeping under mosquito nets,” SurfAid founder Dr Dave Jenkins said. Over the past 10 years, SurfAid has worked in more than 300 villages in the Mentawai and Nias island chain and also more recently in Padang, the regional capital of West Sumatra, after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck the city last September. The scope of SurfAid’s work has increased from malaria prevention to now include water and sanitation, disaster preparedness, and community health programs. In 2007, SurfAid was awarded the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) Humanitarian Award, after being chosen from more than 49,000 not-for-profits worldwide. “SurfAid has always been about creating lasting change, not patch-ups which don’t work for long,” Dr Dave said. “Although we did not appreciate it at the time, one of the best things that happened at the beginning was our complete lack of money other than what we had ourselves and through endless volunteer days and small donations from our friends and families. “This made us study what could be the best return to our donors and clearly the science was telling us to look at some of the basic behaviors that we take for granted – breastfeeding correctly,...