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Bringing Safe Toilets to Those in Need

Bringing Safe Toilets to Those in Need

Veli Muliastuti, or known as Veli, a sanitarian at Puskesmas Karang Kitri in Margahayu urban village, is well-known for her sturdiness in promoting good hygiene practices, such as the importance of having fecal septic containment at home.

The data of Puskesmas Karang Kitri in 2017 indicated that only 13,498 of the total 13,698 houses in Margahayu urban village, Bekasi city had fecal containments. “It is sad to see some people dispose human waste directly to the environment. As a sanitarian, I am called to end this habit,” said Veli.

When the USAID IUWASH PLUS project started its programs in Margahayu urban village in 2017, Veli became actively involved in the project-supported activities, including safe toilets promotion where she learned the importance of having a toilet with septic tank at home.

Her participation in the safe toilets promotion to community members inspired Veli to initiate GESER SI JAHAT (Gerakan Seribu Rupiah Siapkan Jamban Sehat) program in Margahayu urban village. This program aimed to build safe toilets for low-income families by collecting Rp1,000 each month from each house in Margahayu urban village.

“The idea of GESER SI JAHAT came up when I met some community members who are motivated to have an individual toilet with septic tank, but had limited financial capacity to build the facility,” said Veli.

In December 2018, Veli, with support from Puskesmas Karang Kitri, Bekasi city health office, and USAID IUWASH PLUS, established a community based-group named Forum Peduli Sanitasi (a forum that cares about sanitation) to implement GESER SI JAHAT program. From December 2018 to May 2019, the forum implemented GESER SI JAHAT, during which they collected money from each house every month.

In addition, Veli and Forum Peduli Sanitasi, with assistance from the Puskesmas, sub-district and village governments, and USAID IUWASH PLUS, also seek CSR support from local private sector firms, such as Mitra Keluarga hospital and Bank Jabar, to build safe toilets for the low-income community.

All this hard work is finally paying off. Through GESER SI JAHAT and CSR support, Forum Peduli Sanitasi collected Rp97,821,000, which consisted of Rp45,665,000 from GESER SI JAHAT and Rp52,156,000 from CSR.

The forum then gradually used the budget to build 17 individual septic tanks and three toilets with septic tanks from January to May 2019. “I am truly benefitted from GESER SI JAHAT. By collecting Rp1,000 every month for five months, my family could have a toilet with septic tank,” said Kholik, a beneficiary of GESER SI JAHAT.

Upon the completion of GESER SI JAHAT program in May 2019, Veli and Forum Peduli Sanitasi currently encourage the community to use the sanitation microcredit product from BPRS Harta Insan Karimah (HIK) to build safe toilets.

Seeing Veli’s success in mobilizing community members and the private sector to increase sanitation access, Bekasi city health office often invites her to share her experiences, especially in managing GESER SI JAHAT, with other sanitarians, hoping that they could follow Veli’s path.

Available in idIndonesia (Indonesian)