One family’s drive to ensure clean water and sanitation for their village
Bakribo, Indonesia. October 2012. In the village of Bakribo, Biak Numfor, in the Indonesia province of Papua, more than 360 people had been living for almost 40 years without a decent supply of water. The community has relied on collecting rain water with a limited number of rain water catchments and with little scope for water storage. A small source of spring water near the beach (known locally as “slobar”) has provided another alternative access to get clean water for the households. Women have had to walk at least an hour from the nearest house to the spring.
This situation was far from acceptable to at least one householder, fifty-five year old Lodwik Yensenem. Pak Lodwik is a fisherman and also a respected labourer in his village. He was an ideal partner for UNICEF to demonstrate ways in which the water supply could be improved.
Since constructing the tank, almost two years ago, Mrs. Lodwik has never had to go to the "slobar" to get water.
Provided with moulds through a UNICEF-supported programme, Mr. Lodwik constructed his own rain water tank beside his house. Working with his wife, the couple crushed stones and rocks lying on the ground to make gravel for construction material. On this base, the tank was installed and is now functioning well to collect rain water. The Lodwik family didn’t expect rewards or incentives, but focused on ensuring they could make their contribution to the project, resulting in a simple but effective way of gathering a reliable source of water.
Since constructing the tank, almost two years ago, Mrs. Lodwik has never had to go to the “slobar” to get water. All she has had to do is turn on the tap in her kitchen to get clean water from the tank she helped to construct with her husband.
The collaboration between the Lodwik household and the UNICEF programme did not end with the tank. Mr. Lodwik was provided with a bio sand filter in his kitchen to supply drinking water for his family. The programme began as a pilot initiative in Biak in September 2010, with local construction of the filters and other sanitation equipment.
Thanks to these two simple programmes, significant impact has been made on the health environment in the village. The water quality had been tested by Biak’s Health Office and found safe to drink. That means the risk of diseases such as diarrhea – a disease that claims the lives of one-third of children who die in Indonesia before their fifth birthday – is being reduced, less time is being spent on collecting water, and the related positive benefits for the community are being strengthened.