The lack of access to sanitation facilities still haunts some urban populations in Indonesia. The efforts to improve access to sanitation often face several challenges, such as densely populated areas and people’s lack of knowledge on the importance of sanitation facilities and domestic wastewater management. To make matters worse, many people are not aware of the importance of investment to improve and maintain the sanitation facilities.
Such a situation is experienced by 36 households living in 23 houses in RT 09, Kelurahan Foramadiahi, Ternate city. To promote behavior change among the community members, the Health Office of Ternate City and USAID IUWASH PLUS involved the community to conduct participatory assessment and triggering in early December 2017. The activity funded by the Health Operational Fund (BOK) 2017 invited the community members to understand sanitation and environmental situation in their surroundings. With this activity, they were expected to change, and agree to develop their own follow-up plans to improve the sanitation and environmental situation in their neighborhood.
The participatory assessment and triggering results showed that more than half of the households in RT 09, Kelurahan Foramadiahi did not have toilets. Instead, they usually went to the houses with toilets when they felt the urge to defecate. Unfortunately, the toilets were not equipped with a septic tank. Consequently, this practice poses greater risk of fecal contamination to the environment and threatens the people’s health. It also creates discomfort when people have to go to their neighbors to defecate.
Economic factor was identified as the main reason why people are reluctant to build their own toilets. “Building a toilet here is expensive because RT 09 is far from the city and located on highland,” said Iswan Abdul Latif, the Chief of RT 09. With difficult geographical conditions, people who want to build their own toilets have to spend about Rp 10 to 20 million. This price is truly unaffordable for most people in RT 09, who work either as sharecroppers or as seaport laborers.
To overcome this issue, the Health Office of Ternate City and USAID IUWASH PLUS used the results of the participatory assessment and triggering to advocate the Public Works Office of Ternate City to build sanitation facilities for the people in RT 09, Kelurahan Foramadiahi.
After five months of the advocacy process, the Public Works Office allocated Special Budget (DAK) 2018 to build toilets for the houses that did not have ones, and IPAL Komunal (a communal wastewater treatment plant) connected to 23 houses and one mosque in RT 09, Kelurahan Foramadiahi.
“I feel grateful for the urban triggering method that USAID IUWASH PLUS used because it brought tremendous results. Community members are triggered to change their behavior to become healthier. The Public Works Office is also motivated to build sanitation facilities,” Aida Fitria, a staff of Ternate City Health Office explained.
The results of the participatory assessment and triggering encouraged the community members to develop and implement the follow-up plans to improve their access to sanitation. Therefore, the RT 09 residents together with the Office of Public Works, puskesmas (community health centers), and community leaders agreed to build the IPAL Komunal on the land owned by one of the RT 09 residents.
As part of the follow-up plans, the RT 09 residents formed a community-based organization (KSM) to manage and maintain the IPAL Komunal using knowledge and technical skills they learned from USAID IUWASH PLUS, such as technical and operational training on septic tank maintenance.
The RT 09 residents admitted that the development of toilets and IPAL Komunal in their area was beneficial. “In the past, many people in this area did not have toilets. We had to go to our neighbors to defecate. Thank God, this year, we have toilets and IPAL Komunal so our environment is cleaner and healthier,” said Endang Malik, a Posyandu (integrated healthcare service) cadre.
(Shofyan Ardiansyah/USAID IUWASH PLUS)
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