Perspectives and Learning: National Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) WASH Workshop

Celebrating International Day of People with Disabilities | 3rd December, 2018

By Silvia Landa 


Plan International Indonesia (YPII) in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Health held a National Workshop on the Government of Indonesia’s Community-Based Total Sanitation (STBM) policy, focusing on how to progress the policy’s implementation to be gender equality and socially inclusive (GESI) responsive. This activity was supported by Plan International Australia, the Australian Government as part of the Water for Women Fund, and the Netherlands government. The workshop was attended by 70 WASH national stakeholders (45 females; 25 males; of which 4 were people with disabilities), ranging from practitioners to government officials from several ministries.

The workshop uncovered the challenges at the community level in bringing to life dream of SDGs 6 - sanitation for all – and of attaining the Indonesian’s government target of universal access to sanitation. Whilst sanitation access in Indonesia has been rapidly increasing, there are still issues with inequalities in access. This was highlighted by Serafina Bete, a Disability People’s Organization (DPO) representative from East Nusa Tenggara province,

'Inclusion means that everyone feels comfortable when using the toilet. Toilets should be built not only for people who have feet and arms, but also for those with disabilities, pregnant women, and so on. People with disabilities don't ask for special toilets but inclusive toilets, where everyone is be able to access the toilet. We also want to be included in the planning and development in the sanitation sector. We are the best source of information about what we really need, nothing about us without us.'

She also emphasised that participation of people with disabilities (PWDs) is not just about a number, but that the opinions of PWD need to be heard to ensure that no one is left behind. 


Women in wheelchair speaks to audience

Above: Participants at the national workshop. (YPII)


Left: Mas Pur (l) and Serafina Bete (r) shared their hopes and experience for inclusive WASH. (YPII)

Drawing on many years’ experience in gender equality and inclusive WASH, and working together with the Government of Indonesia, YPII took the opportunity of the workshop to link local inclusive WASH champions to national WASH stakeholders, including Mas Pur, a sanitation entrepreneur from West Nusa Tenggara Province. Mas Pur shared how inclusive WASH is implemented in his business. As an entrepreneur, he shared his experience of selling toilets to poor and marginalised people. 

'If I only focus on profit, I will not build toilets for people with special needs, but I believe life is not just for money. We also have to do social work. By using local materials around the house, I tried to build toilets that were suitable for my client’s request. Every client required a different design based on their special needs.' 

Moreover, he emphasised the importance of social entrepreneurs to ensure inclusive access to WASH for all. 

Dr. Imran Agus Nurali Sp. KO the Director of Environmental Health at Ministry of Health, who was also present at the workshop stated that "Accessibility for people with disability is important. There is a saying that countries with low access for people with disabilities mean that they are not developed countries, so this must be considered. There are still many responsibilities that must be fulfilled by the Ministry.” This is an encouraging sign that the Ministry of Health’s is committed to carrying forward the dream of more inclusive WASH access implementation in Indonesia.

Presenters in front of a screen facing an audience
Man addresses crowd

Far Left: Presenters at the national workshop. 


Left: Director of Environmental Health at Ministry of Health, Dr. Imran Agus Nurali Sp. KO gave a response to sharing from WASH champions. (YPII)

The workshop ended with a roundtable discussion on how to make the current Ministry of Health regulations on STBM more gender responsive and inclusive, including providing inputs to a STBM GESI module currently being prepared by YPII under the Australian government supported Water for Woman Fund. The workshop was successful at initiating commitment from national WASH stakeholders for the journey towards more inclusive WASH in the national level policy and through learning from field experience.

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