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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Unsung Sanitation Hero

The Unsung Sanitation Hero

As a member of community in RT 17, RW 09, Tanjungrejo urban village, Sukun sub-district, Malang city, Kriswindari (54 years old), known as Ibu Kris, is called to make a change to the community hygiene behavior in maintaining environmental sanitation. Being an Early Childhood Education teacher, Ibu Kris admitted her call was originated from her concern on the Open Defecation (OD) behavior in her neighborhood.

Most of the community members in RT 17 have practiced OD in the river. This behavior became a common habit since they lived here. This unhealthy habit was related to the settlement location which is surrounded by 2 rivers. This settlement is located between the Kebon Agung river and the Metro river. The existence of these rivers further supported people to defecate in the river.

Activities in kebon agung river

“At first, the people here were very difficult to change their habit, because they are used to defecate in the river for many years,” said Ibu Kris. However, the condition did not discourage Ibu Kris. Through PKK (Family Welfare Initiative) and Community Health Service (Posyandu) meetings, Ibu Kris invited the housewives in RT 17 to start the hygiene behavior. “Housewives have important roles in the household, such as cooking, washing, all done by them. So they must be educated to spread their knowledge to the family,” said Ibu Kris.

Although it took several years to wait, finally the efforts initiated by Ibu Kris received supports from several parties. In 2013, the construction of a communal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) facility from the USRI program funded by the Asian Development Bank was initiated. This WWTP provides septage containment for 50 home connections. At least, 25 households have connected to this WWTP. In 2017, the Kotaku program commenced the construction of a bio filter septic tank that has been utilized by 28 households. This efforts is also supported by USAID IUWASH PLUS that has been existed to strengthen the Group of User and Maintainer (KPP) which has the role in managing and maintaining the WWTP and bio filter septic tank.

Ibu Kris sharing experience in motivating the community

The support from USAID IUWASH PLUS helped strengthen Ibu Kris in promoting hygiene behavior in the community. Through training with USAID IUWASH PLUS, Ibu Kris received information and knowledge about hygiene behaviors such as hand washing with soap, not littering the river, and also how to maintain the WWTP and bio filter septic tank. The knowledge Ibu Kris gets is always delivered to the people through various opportunities, such as posyandu and other meetings.

“Currently, I already have 3 people who join me for motivating people to practice hygiene behavior,” Ibu Kris continued. “There are still a lot of homeworks I have to do, there are still people defecating in the river. However, the changes that have occured motivate me to continue working,” said Ibu Kris in enthusiasm.

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