WASH and Beyond – Transforming Lives in Eastern Indonesia 

Water for Women partners with Plan International Australia to benefit over 556,400* people, including the most marginalised within communities, by delivering WASH and Beyond – Transforming Lives in Eastern Indonesia. 


The Indonesian Government has created a strong enabling environment for WASH delivery at the national level, including a quality and evidence-based sanitation and hygiene policy (called the STBM policy).  The STBM policy has achieved significant improvements and policy change, which is a great beginning.  However, it has largely not been operationalised in the country at a provincial and local level.  There is still some way to go in ensuring universal WASH access, particularly in the more remote and rural areas of Indonesia. 

Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) province is home to over 5 million people and whilst some progress has been made in achieving ‘total sanitation’ with 31% of the population living in STBM-declared communities, there is still plenty of work to be done to achieve universal WASH.  For example:

51% of the population have access to an improved water source.

 40% of population still practice open defecation or use an unimproved toilet.


In neighbouring Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) province, the population is approximately 4.7 million and whilst 87% of the population have improved sanitation coverage, only 27 villages - approximately 40,500 people (or 9% of NTB’s population) – have reached the STBM targets.  Unhealthy hygiene practices are a critical issue with approximately 91% of the population (over 4 million people) vulnerable to multiple diseases and undernutrition. 



Water for Women will be partnering with Plan International Australia and Plan International Indonesia to deliver WASH and Beyond – Transforming Lives in Eastern Indonesia

The aim of this project is to improve the health, gender equality and wellbeing of Indonesian communities through inclusive and sustainable WASH. 

The Project will work in rural and urban areas of Manggarai district in Nusa Tenggara Timur province and Sumbawa district in Nusa Tenggara Barat province, Indonesia. 

Regional map of Indonesia

WASH and Beyond will benefit over 556,400* people including the most marginalised within these communities, who in this context have been identified as women/girls and people with disabilities.


Four project outcomes have been designed to directly contribute to the Water for Women goal, in particular, advancing WASH and gender equality and socially inclusive outcomes. 

These outcomes are: 

Systems Strengthening

Gaining upfront formal commitment for implementing the STBM approach with a focus on gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) by mobilising resources from provincial and district governments to village teams.

GESI STBM will be implemented and replicated in villages, schools and health centres across 19 sub-districts. 

WASH Access

The private sector will respond to demand for affordable GESI-responsive products and services, moving villages towards safely managed sanitation.

This includes a GESI-specific approach to interventions, village bodies and empowering women entrepreneurs. 

Beyond WASH – Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

Placing marginalised individuals - including women, girls, people with disabilities and gender minorities - at the centre of their own change through the PAR (Participatory Action Research) approach whereby these individuals claim their rights in households, communities and public domains. 

This includes long-term building of skills and capacity to use PAR methodology. 

Evidence and Influence

In delivering GESI-outcomes in WASH, use evidence to influence the national STBM policy to be gender and social inclusion (GESI)-responsive.

Another aim is to mainstream menstrual hygiene management into the national curriculum and test this curriculum in demonstration schools. 


“The Water for Women Project in Indonesia sets a new milestone on the country’s attempt to achieve the 6th Goal of the SDGs, sanitation for all.  Sanitation for all is not just an idea or a dream anymore, but a work in progress to reality.  This project seeks to ensure sustainable WASH services is accessible for all with emphases of the benefit of gender transformative change for a truly inclusive WASH project.”

- Silvia Landa, Water for Women Project Manager, Plan International Indonesia. 


Innovation & Impact


In 2021, this project was awarded an Innovation and Impact grant to further strengthen the use of new evidence, innovation and practice in sustainable and inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and, in doing so, contribute to improved learning and practice globally.

Led by Plan International Australia, this project builds on existing strong relationships developed through WASH and Beyond and introduces action research and integrated water management (IWM) to support subnational government to strengthen the wider water and wastewater cycle, increase multi-stakeholder coordination and WASH accountability. The project is also contributing to sector evidence by evolving the IWM framework to be gender and socially inclusive.


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Innovation & Impact


In 2021, this project was awarded an Innovation and Impact grant to further strengthen the use of new evidence, innovation and practice in sustainable and inclusive WASH and, in doing so, contribute to improved learning and practice globally.


Led by Plan International Australia in partnership with Edge Effect, this Innovation & Impact project will strengthen inclusion in WASH implementation by using Participatory Action Research (PAR) within its WASH programs, with a focus on gender equality and social inclusion. This work will result in the development of a practical toolkit called ‘Voices at the Table’, which will help practitioners to embed and strengthen inclusion in their projects.


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 A water and WASH response is a COVID-19 response


In 2020, the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene was underscored as the globe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from Australia's Partnerships for Recovery, our partners pivoted their projects and worked collaboratively to support countries in their COVID-19 responses and to embed COVID-19 preparedness into their WASH projects.

In Indonesia, Plan International's COVID-19 response benefitted an estimated 450,000 people, made up of four components: WASH in schools (WinS) and menstrual hygiene management (MHM); WASH in Health Care Facilities (HCF); the private sector and supporting women, girls and people with disabilities (PWDs); and institutional WASH strengthening.

Plan worked to improve WinS through child-friendly COVID-19 prevention campaigns, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and running MHM sanitary pad making sessions along with demystifying menstrual taboos. WASH in 20 sub-district HCFs focused on infection prevention and control, providing PPE and running a Behaviour Change Communication campaign to reinforce good hygiene.

Plan encouraged private sector participation through a competition for new and existing entrepreneurs to design inclusive toilet and handwashing devices based on the features of an ideal toilet developed by the women and PWD Participatory Action Research groups.

COVID-19 highlighted a gap in the national STBM Pillar 2 around handwashing with soap, its triggers and motivators. Plan worked with the National WASH Working Group, including other CSOs, to improve STBM Pillar 2 policy and implementation.

Australia continues to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities across the Indo-Pacific region to secure our region's health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times.

An unprecedented crisis requires a coordinated response. Through our water resources management and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects, we are not only delivering safe, equitable and sustainable water and WASH, we are also building healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. We're supporting individuals, communities and countries to endure, and recover from, the COVID-19 crisis as well as build resilience to future extreme events and natural disasters. 



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The Australian aid program is investing in Indonesia over a five-year period to achieve these outcomes. Water for Women is proud to be partnering with Plan International Australia and Plan International Indonesia and other local partners to deliver WASH and Beyond.

*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.

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