Open defecation practice has long become a sanitation issue in Tebing Tinggi. The City Health Office data in 2015 showed that about 20% of the 156,815 population in the city used communal toilets or toilets without septic tank to defecate, which is considered as open defecation practice.
This unfavorable situation occurs due to people’s low awareness of the importance of safe toilets—household toilets with septic tanks, and their lack of affordability to build the facilities. In June 2017, Tebing Tinggi Health Office, with support from USAID IUWASH PLUS, conducted participatory assessment and triggering to increase the people’s awareness of the benefits of safe toilets to protect public and environmental health as well as to create comfort in their neighborhood.
This community-based activity successfully motivated the people to build a toilet and septic tank in their own houses.
Some people were able to build safe toilets immediately using their own fund, but many others cannot afford to build the facilities. In addition, the Tebing Tinggi city government also has limited budget and resource allocation to build safe toilets for those low income community members.
“Our APBD is insufficient to build household toilets and septic tanks for the low income community members. We have to seek external fundings, such as CSR, to build those facilities,” said Sudarman, the Head of Public Health Division of Tebing Tinggi Health Office.
In December 2017, the Tebing Tinggi Health Office, with support from USAID IUWASH PLUS, conducted a series of discussions with Bank Sumut – a North Sumatra local government owned bank – on the potential cooperation between the bank and the city government to build safe toilets for low income community through its CSR program. After the intensive discussions with the Health Office, Bank Sumut finally agreed to support the construction of toilets and septic tanks for low income community households through its CSR program and will allocate Rp98 million from its 2019 budget.
“We are motivated to support the safe toilet construction because we want our children to live in a healthier and safer environment,” said Indra Syahputra, the Head of Operational Division of Bank Sumut.
In October 2018, Bank Sumut and the Tebing Tinggi Health Office, supported by USAID IUWASH PLUS, surveyed the potential beneficiaries. They agreed to use the CSR budget to build 25 toilets and septic tanks for 25 low income households in five villages, namely Damar Sari, Karya Jaya, Rambug, Mekar Sentosa, and Sri Padang. The safe toilet construction is planned to take place from February to May 2019.
USAID IUWASH PLUS will support Tebing Tinggi government to use its CSR partnership with Bank Sumut to motivate other private firms and organizations to collaborate with the government in providing all of the population of Tebing Tinggi city with access to safely managed sanitation.
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