Climate-Resilient and Inclusive WASH (CERIA)

Water for Women partners with Yayasan Plan International Indonesia, Plan International Australia and partners to deliver CERIA — Climate-Resilient and Inclusive WASH in Indonesia to directly benefit 223,088* people living in the provinces of Nusa Tenggara Timur and Nusa Tenggara Barat. 



Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic state, consisting of more than 17,500 islands with over 81,000km of coastline and a population of around 277.5 million.[1]


Indonesia is ranked in the top-third of countries in terms of climate risk, with high exposure to all types of flooding and extreme heat, both of which are expected to intensify as the climate changes. Climate change is likely to have impacts on water availability, disaster risk management, urban development — particularly in the coastal zones — and health and nutrition, with implications for poverty and inequality.[2]


Indonesia is particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise, with a high proportion of the population inhabiting lower elevation coastal zones. Due in large part to this, Indonesia is also ranked sixth highest in the world for the number of people impacted by floods, with some 464 annual flood events displacing or disrupting approximately 640,000 Indonesians every year. According to the World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank, without effective adaptation, 4.2 million people could be exposed to permanent flooding by the period 2070–2100.[3]


The impacts of climate change are already being felt in Indonesia, with more frequent droughts, heat waves, extreme floods, and large-scale landslides.[4] These impacts have hindered the progress of many development aspects in Indonesia, such as health, water resources, food resilience, housing, infrastructure, and ecosystem.

An aerial view of Seketeng Market in Sumbawa, Indonesia

An aerial view of Seketeng Market in Sumbawa, Indonesia (Yayasan Plan International Indonesia)


Climate-related risks to water, sanitation and hygiene


Climate change intensifies inequalities. When climate hazard events disrupt water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and access, it is marginalised groups — particularly women, girls, and people with disabilities — who experience the greatest burden.

Many communities face barriers to safely managing their sanitation facilities because of the absence of pit-emptying services and wastewater treatment facilities. The sustainability of current basic sanitation facilities is at heightened risk due to climate change and the absence of supporting services at the district and city levels.

According to the 2021 Joint Monitoring Programme update,[5] while Indonesia has made good progress on increasing access to at least basic sanitation, around 20 million people still lack access to improved sanitation.[6]

Approximately 33% of Indonesia’s total population and 37% of the rural population relies on self-supply water sources for household consumption and WASH needs, which presents challenges for transitioning to and monitoring safely managed water services.[7] About 18 million Indonesians still lack access to safe water.[8]


Both Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) and Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) provinces are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, including extreme climate hazard events such as floods, landslides, droughts, cyclones, sea-level rise and increasing temperatures. Sumbawa, Manggarai and Kupang face adaptation challenges and have been identified by the World Bank as national hotspots, where adaptation to flooding, droughts and cyclones is a particular priority.


In the NTT capital city Kupang, where around 107 tonnes of household waste is generated daily, 75%[9] of this waste is unsafely managed and disposed of through processes like burning and burial, as well as illegal dumping. These practices impact on the already low quality of surface water, contaminating sources like rivers and reservoirs, and the groundwater.[10] During extreme weather events, including Tropical Cyclone Seroja in April 2021, this has also resulted in household waste being washed up, causing further health and sanitation issues and additional disaster recovery challenges.[11]


Further amplifying these impacts is the high financial cost to households in NTT to buy clean water during periods of water scarcity, amounting to around AUD40 per month. This is unaffordable for many, with an average household income in NTT of no more than AUD100 per month. Poverty in the Nusa Tenggara region is indicated by the high number of low-income households — 26% and 24% in NTT and NTB respectively — compared to the national average of 10%.[12]

The women pictured here are working together on a systems mapping activity to assess how climate change hazards may affect gender equality and social inclusion in water and sanitation services in Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. (UTS-ISF / Tamara Megaw)


A study conducted by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures and UNICEF[13] in NTB province also shows that people who experienced water shortages due to droughts were frequently unable to use toilets due to a lack of water. High rates of poverty in the region and limited options for alternative use of toilet facilities have driven a high rate of return to open defecation.


Furthermore, USAID[14] predicts that the financial impacts of climate change in NTT and NTB will drive the loss of income per capita to 5% by 2050, due to impacts on the agricultural sector, upon which more than 80%[15] of the population relies for their livelihoods. The combination of increased poverty and the projection of depleting water resources and intensified flooding are likely to impact clean water accessibility and hygiene behaviour.


A map of Indonesia with regions of operation highlighted

“What is actually happening in the community? What are our needs? We [women] are finally able to speak up. We hope that Sumbawa will be free of waste...”

A Participatory Action Research participant from Brang Bara, Sumbawa




Climate-Resilient and Inclusive WASH in Indonesia is being delivered to improve the climate resilience, health, gender equality and well-being of 223,088* residents of Manggarai District and Kupang City, NTT, and Sumbawa District, NTB.


Building on Plan International’s Water for Women project, WASH and Beyond –Transforming Lives in Eastern Indonesia, completed in 2022, from 2023 to 2024 the CERIA project is helping governments and community members to establish climate-resilient and inclusive WASH systems and services that mitigate the impacts of climate change on WASH in the project locations.


From 2023-2024 this project aims to deliver lasting impact through:

  • Support to every level of government responsible for climate-resilient community-based total sanitation (STBM) in Indonesia, from the national level to the village level, and strengthening linkages between these levels
  • Refinement of the existing climate change response for inclusive WASH (CCRIW) tool for broader use in all target villages, enabling communities to identify potential climate hazards and risks, assess their vulnerabilities, and develop action plan to ensure their WASH access is resilient to climate risks
  • Ensuring government budgets sustain project outcomes at the village level by working with village STBM teams and village governments to advocate the allocation of the Village Funds for climate-resilient STBM
  • Support to the Government of Indonesia and private sector to invest and deliver climate-resilient inclusive WASH and integrated water management
  • Climate change adaptation and WASH practices of national and international actors informed by project evidence.
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A cover thumbnail of a country summary with text and picture of a woman with latrine equipment

This project is an extension of WASH and Beyond: Transforming lives in Eastern Indonesia delivered from
2018 - 2022.

Learn more

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This project was involved in two Innovation and Impact projects, Integrated water management action research in Indonesia and Voices at the table toolkit. 

WASH-related climate challenges for this project

  • WASH service delivery and hygiene behaviours are detrimentally impacted by climate hazard events in the project locations.
  • Water shortages during the long dry season due to reduced water catchment areas and sea-level rise cause ‘slippage’ in open defecation free status, as residents don’t have enough water to flush toilets.
  • Waste management issues and open defecation amplify WASH impacts on communities after extreme weather events like cyclones and flooding due to high rainfall rates, contaminating already scarce clean water sources.
  • Damage caused to sanitation and hygiene facilities during landslides exacerbate WASH challenges in the project areas.
  • Other than emergency water supply and sanitation service provision, there are no government programmes to sustainably reduce WASH service disruptions during climate hazard events in the long term.


“Open Defecation Free for Manggarai [district] proved that people in Manggarai … are aware and able to change. We need to achieve as many pillars in WASH as possible with active involvement of all people in village and community.”

Herybertus Nabit, Manggarai Regent



A group of school students face the teacher in a classroom in rural Indonesia

 View photo updates from all of our work in Indonesia


Climate-Resilient and Inclusive WASH in Indonesia aims to reach the following beneficiaries in NTT and NTB by the end of 2024:

Direct beneficiaries: 223,088*

  • women and girls: 111,602
  • men and boys: 111,463
  • people with a disability: 3,435

Indirect beneficiaries: 779,637*



A sanitarian from Puskesmas facilitates WASH training for people with disabilities in Manggarai, enabling participants to identify WASH needs in the community and climate hazards that can affect WASH practices (Yayasan Plan International Indonesia)



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Australia's development assistance program is investing in Indonesia to achieve these outcomes. Water for Women is proud to be partnering with Plan International AustraliaYayasan Plan International Indonesia and partners in Nusa Tenggara Timur and Nusa Tenggara Barat Provinces.

*Project targets are based on partner Civil Society Organisations (CSO) baseline studies. Project targets are updated periodically in response to changes in context as appropriate. To see our latest progress towards targets, see our progress.

Feature photo: A trained sanitarian delivers triggering activities for people with a disability in Batudulang village in Sumbawa. Plan Indonesia initiated the development of WASH triggering and monitoring guidelines for people with a disability to ensure equal access to WASH facilities (Plan Indonesia / Irwansyah)


[1] United Nations Population Fund, World Population Dashboard: Indonesia, (website), n.d., accessed May 2023.

[2] World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank, Climate Risk Country Profile: Indonesia, World Bank Group/ADB, 2021.

[3] World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank, Climate Risk Country Profile: Indonesia.

[4] University of Technology Sydney - Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Indonesia and UNICEF, Climate resilient urban sanitation in Indonesia: Hazards, impacts and responses in four cities, UTS-ISF/ UI/UNICEF, 2021.

[5] World Health Organisation and UNICEF, Progress on Household Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 2000-2020, WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2021.

[6], Indonesia’s Water and Sanitation Crisis, (webpage), n.d., accessed May 2023.

[7] Water for Women, Monitoring Safely Managed Water and Sanitation Services: Case Studies from Water for WomenCase Study 2. Self-supplied and Safely Managed: Urban Monitoring Challenges in Indonesia, prepared by University of Technology Sydney - Institute for Sustainable Futures, 2022.

[8], Indonesia’s Water and Sanitation Crisis

[9] Based on the total daily household waste recorded in 2021 according to Warning! Waste in Kupang City Reaches 218.98 Tons per day, (news article) 19 April 2022.

[10] R Kurniawan et al, The Impact of Tropical Cyclone Seroja to The Rainfall and Sea Wave Height in East Nusa Tenggara, IOP Conference Series Earth and Environmental Science 925(1):012049, November 2021, accessed via May 2023.

[11] GF Lelan, Studi Tingkat Risiko Pencemaran Sumber Air Pada Tempat Pengisian Airtangki Di Kelurahan Oesapa Kota Kupang Tahun 2021, (Doctoral dissertation) Poltekkes Kemenkes Kupang, 2021.

[12] World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank, Climate Risk Country Profile: Indonesia.

[14] USAID, Indonesia: Costs of Climate Change 2050, United States Agency for International Development Technical Report, May 2016.

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