By: Reza Hendrawan and Piet F. Djata
Kupang, Indonesia, 7 December 2007 – “It is not impossible!” said Junaidin confidently. He is the village chief of Rorurangga, a small village among 7 villages in Ende Island, just an hour sailing from Ende City, the district’s capital. Junaidin and his villagers are just starting to change dreams into reality by proclaiming Rorurangga as free open defecation village this year. “I always ashamed with the guest from the mainland”, Junaidi explained seriously, “I should warned visitors to avoid step on a ‘landmine’ while walk on the coastline.” Landmine is a local term for human excreta spread out sporadically on sandy beaches.
The open defecation habit in the beach is not solely problem of Rorurangga Village. The same incidence can be found on other 6 villages in Ende Island, Padarape, Aejeti, Puutara, Rendoraterua, Ndoriwoi and Redodori. This unsanitary practice definitely generates diarrhea disease which strikes mostly to the children.
Step Forward to Total Sanitation
Ende Island has a total area of 62.02 km2, resided by 2.153 families which live in 1.441 houses within 7 villages. According to Haji Ali, a local health center’s sanitarian, only 361 houses equipped with proper sanitation facility. Thus, it is not an odd if in the past years, Ende Island always announced as locus of diarrhea extraordinary outbreak by the government.
With funding from Japan National Committee, UNICEF is working closely with minister of health of the Ende district’s government to provide better water and sanitation services to community in Ende Island. “One of our intervention aims in Ende Island is to eliminate open defecation practice,” stressed Muhammad Zainal, UNICEF Water and Environmental Project Officer. “As part of national policy on water and environmental sanitation sector, community led total sanitation (CLTS) is adopted and introduced in Ende Island. We expect that CLTS approach could trigger community to construct and use their own household latrine.”
Since CLTS emergence in Bangladesh early 2000, the non-subsidy CLTS approach has been spreading in at least nine countries in Asia and Africa. Indonesia’s government began to adopt this approach in the early of 2005. One of the main principles of CLTS is no financial assistance on the provision of sanitation facility. “Cost of latrine construction must be 100% financed by communities,” explained Haji Ali, who is also Ende Island villager. “However, it should be noted that CLTS is not exclusively promoting latrine, neither forcing community to construct it. The most important is how to change the hygiene behavior through participatory way, by identifying problem, analyzing the possible solution, implementation, maintenance and utilization. “If community has been triggered and understands the risk of open defecation practice. It will raise their awareness and then willfully build their own latrine with their own money” he added.
Planning for Change
There is great enthusiasm within communities in Ende Island to stop open defecation and ensure a cleaner environment after CLTS was conducted. There are many community groups and leaders exist in every village in Ende Island, such as religious leader, the koran reading group (kelompok pengajian), youth group (Karang Taruna) and women’s groups of the Family Welfare Programme (PKK, a community based voluntary movement). These have contributed substantially towards spreading the message of CLTS and develop detailed of action plan for a free open defection village.
For instance, Abu Bakar, imam of Baiturahman mosque, Padarape Village, promised to put in hygiene and sanitation issue on every Friday sermon. “I encourage people to change their habit and stop open defecation practices,” said Abu Bakar. As a result, there are about 233 household who have been declaring their willingness to construct latrine. The number of committed household keeps increase every week.
Another example of enthusiasm is showed by Ibu Aminah, a member of Rorurangga Koran reading group. She is annoyed after having CLTS session and just realized that the food and water she was eaten may contaminated with human feces through any kind of medium, such as flies or water. “I forced my husband to built latrine, as soon as possible. It is okay for me, if he just built the most simple latrine pit. The most important is to localize the excreta that will not harm human being,” said Ibu Aminah.
A different solution is initiated by several women whom orange a neighborhood latrine lottery. Ibu Siti Sarifah, a young mother of two children, has joint with some housewife within her sub-village. “In a near future, I will have my own household latrine,” said Ibu Siti enthusiasm. As wrap up, a village regulation will be developed in the whole 7 village in Ende Island to ensure the achievement of free open defecation status. “I am confidence the whole village within Ende Island will be free from open defecation,” said Piet F. Djata, one of senior CLTS facilitator from the ministry of health. “It is just a matter of time,” he clearly stated.