BAZNAS x UNICEF
Providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation to every child
140,000 children under five in Indonesia die every year from diarrhea caused by poor wastewater treatment. Most, or as high as 93% of wastewater from toilets is dumped without being treated in the Septage Treatment Plants (IPLT) and contaminate the water consumed by families, including children. Not only that, open defecation remains as one of the contamination sources in places where children live. In Indonesia, 9.36% of its population are still practicing open defecation.
UNICEF, together with the government and other development partners, put in place a Community-Based Total Sanitation program. As the result, 74.58% of Indonesian households are now using improved sanitation facility. Nevertheless, safe septage management stands as a challenge to creating safe and healthy environment for the children.
However, for the government, the funding to build safe access to drinking water and sanitation presents the biggest challenge.
For parents, limited financial resources hinder them from providing safe and improved access to drinking and water and sanitation at home. Children from poor families are especially vulnerable to diarrhea due to contaminated water and poor hygiene. This is a reality for children like Feby in East Lombok District whose family practices open defecation until recently. Her parents make just enough money to put food on the table and household facilities like a latrine is not a priority.
“I used to defecate in a ditch. I was sick with diarrhea once. I felt weak and my head hurt. I don’t want to get sick with diarrhea again.”
According to Ir. Ridwan Syah MSc., MM., MTP., – Assistant in Economic Affairs and Development (Assistant II) of the Regional Secretariat, West Nusa Tenggara Province – the local government can only allocate 0.543% of the local budget for clean water facility. This indicates how the government urgently needs innovative funding that involves various partners to provide safe drinking water and improved sanitation to the communities.
Badan Amil Zakat Nasional (BAZNAS) is one of the partners that has been standing with UNICEF since 2017 to support the provision of access to drinking water and sanitation for poor families.
BAZNAS refers to the Fatwa No. 1 of 2015 issued by the Indonesia Ulema Council that allows the mobilization of Islamic charities, alms, and donations to support clean water and sanitation programs.
Starting from 2017, the partnership targets not only clean water and sanitation access, but also aims to stop open defecation. BAZNAS, the East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Government, and UNICEF targets to bring 1,500 to 2,000 latrines equipped with septic tank by 2020.
“As an international organization, UNICEF can provide capacity building for our people working in the field, especially our sanitary officers.”
A staff member under the Social and Culture Department of the West Nusa Tenggara Development Planning Agency hopes that BAZNAS and UNICEF partnership can bring about behavioral changes and help the communities having an integrated septage treatment facility. This facility can help put a stop to unregulated vacuum trucks that dump human wastes to rivers in urban areas, eventually contaminating neighborhoods where children live, grow, and thrive.
Every child has the right to attain the highest standard in health and medical care, clean water, nutritious food, and clean and safe environment, as set out in Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. With the support of all parties, this aspiration can be realized.