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Living in a clean environment is anyone’s dream. However, what happens if people in our neighborhood still defecate in public places? And it is worsened by the fact that improvement of sanitation always clashing with the economic problems. Fortunately, this problem is resolved by a groups of scientists from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) Surabaya. Through the micro credit system in local bank, ITS encourage people to build sanitation facilities for a healthier environment.
Sanitation problem is indeed a complicated problem in East Java Province. As is known, East Java is a province with the second densest population in Indonesia with many dense settlements. However, population density was not stabilized with the quality of cleanliness in the environment.
In 2015, IUWASH revealed that 45.7 percent of households in East Java do not access proper disposal of feces. Although some have their own bathroom, many peoples still do not have septic tanks to accommodate the dirt. Finally, the dirt from the latrines is finally channeled into open land as well.
Even worse, as many as 39.4 percent of households in East Java are still defecate in public places. Many peoples still relieve themselves in open places. “For example in ponds, rice fields, rivers, lakes, pits, gardens, even beaches,” explained Dr. Ir Setiawan MS, chairman of PDPM ITS.
There are dangers lurked behind this unhealthy habit. For example, epidemic deseas such as diarrhea, influenza, and various other skin diseases that often attack the settlements in East Java. “This can be seen from the overflow of cholera sufferers in East Java in certain seasons, especially when the turn of the season.” Setiawan said.
Not to mention, because of this haphazard behavior, the soil water and rivers become polluted. Whereas most of the population in rural East Java still use soil water for drinking and river water to wash their body and clothes.
It is not as though the government turned blind eye for this problem. In fact, since 2011, East Java Provincial Government through Urban Sanitation and Rural Infrastructure (USRI) program has built many sanitation facilities. This facility is built through The Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab (IPAL) Communal, building under cooperation with Indonesia Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IUWASH) and Center for Studies of Regional Potential and Community Empowerment (PDPM) ITS as mentors.
However, after being checked, sanitation facilities have not been optimally utilized. Even some facilities have not been used by the locals. The surrounding community still prefer to defecate in the river or other open places.
After investigation, it was found that the management of the facilities, the Non-Governmental Groups (KSM), still lacks the ability to operate and maintain the facilities that have been already built. They also have not been able to serve requests for connecting to homes because of inadequate skills.
KSM revealed that there has been frequent socialization to the residents about the importance of sanitation and adverse effects of BABS carelessly to health. However, socialization is now ignored. When asked, most of the reasons are the same, namely the lack of financial ability. Understandably, because people with inadequate sanitation comes from low income families.
Creating own latrines is also difficult for residents, as many people do not know how to make hygienic latrines. Finally, many are back to old habits to defecate carelessly in the open area.
In the midst of this problem, in 2013 sanitarian finally propose an idea to the IUWASH and LPPM ITS to organize a sanitation entrepreneurship program. These sanitarians work together with builders and provide services to build latrines for local residents. “But the cost can be paid partially so as not to burden the poor,” said the lecturer of the Department of Statistics.
But the problem does not stop there. After deploying various trainings to sanitarian sanitation entrepreneurs, the PDPM has gained many complaints from these mostly sanitarian entrepreneurs.
They admitted many lack of finance to patch up the cost to build sanitation for peoples. Moreover, these local people sometimes re refusing or delaying payments that make entrepreneurs unprofitable. In fact, from entrepreneur’s information, enthusiasts of toilet development began to increase. But again, limited costs make their business difficult to continue.
For that reason, in 2014 IUWASH launched a grant program to increase shared access. Meanwhile, ITS represented PDPM supervising and assisting seven cities in East Java to build 450 latrine facilities for each region.
PDPM ITS provides assistance to 20 sanitation entrepreneurs in seven cities or districts in East Java. These entrepreneurs are provided with knowledge and support for the supply of toiletry and septic tank making materials such as cement, sand and latrine molds.
Through this program that started since October 2014, people who want to build latrines and septic tanks can directly contact the entrepreneur sanitation. Just as before, people can pay development costs by installing them within 10-12 months.
However, there must still be cost for the entrepreneur to run his sanity business. Finally, ITS and IUWASH conduct advocacy to Local Government and local banks. After considering the potential of sanitation entrepreneurs, the local governments finally agreed to increase the capital for the entrepreneurs and assist in the implementation of the credit latrine payment.
From that time until 2015, Sanitation Improvement Access Program with Credit Micro Scheme in 7 cities or districts in East Java was finally implemented. Over time, the credit system also evolved into other systems such as social gathering. “Essentially, when people want to change the behavior of defecting in public places, there is entrepreneurial support for sanitation that provides a solution to build a healthy family latrines according to the financial ability of citizens,” said the man who was born in Gresik.
After providing business funding for sanitation entrepreneurs, the PDPM ITS does not want to get out of hand. PDPM feels the need to provide various trainings for entrepreneurs related to sanitation business. For this reason, activities such as the identification of SME Potential and Target Market, training of sanitation entrepreneur, procurement of Equipment for Production of Jamban, Strategy and Plan of Promotion and Marketing. “As well as facilitation or facilitation for access to financing,” he added.
This program proved to be effective. Until August 2015, the number of people who already have latrines and septic tanks has reached 1500 households. Even in Jombang, one of the city under the guidance, local government also allocated one billion rupiah fund as capital participation in Bank of Jombang to fund this sanitation microcredit program.
Sanitation entrepreneurs who attend training are now starting to develop not just sanitarian in local clinic areas as usual. Many local people are getting interested to try their luck in sanitation business.
Until now, sanitation entrepreneurs are citizens who have a desire in developing sanitation services independently in the community. Development has also begun to form various schemes to expand people’s access to healthy sanitation.
East Java provincial government cooperation, IUWASH and PDPM ITS itself has ended in October 2015 ago. However, PDPM is not too worried because since running microcredit program in 2014 ago, entrepreneurs have been very independent until today.
Setiawan also revealed that some other areas do not get additional capital assistance such as in Jombang. However, entrepreneurs have moved independently and cooperated with cooperatives or PNPM Mandiri in their respective towns or districts to get funding assistances.
As an institution concerned with regional mining, PDPM is relieved that the sanitation improvement program has finally found a clear light. Setiawan revealed some areas did not get additional capital assistance such as in Jombang.
However, entrepreneurs have moved independently and cooperated with cooperatives or PNPM Mandiri in their respective cities or districts to expand their business. Setiawan sure so, sanitation business in East Java can continue to run. “And hopefully also can inspire other areas to float with the same system,” he concluded.
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