Sanitation Entrepreneurs in Indonesia Help Create Healthier Villages

March 21, 2013


A large proportion of Indonesians still practice open defecation causing water contamination, but local entrepreneurs are now helping to keep the water clean.

  • Around 66 million people in Indonesia still practice open defecation which causes health problems and increase the cost of water treatment.
  • The World Bank Water and Sanitation Program is implementing a project to help provide affordable sanitation facilities for rural communities.
  • The project has shown that it has helped lowered cases of diarrhea among children and reduced open defecation in rural communities.

Jakarta, March 22, 2013 – A few years ago, Warga was a farmer in Ponggang Village, West Java, Indonesia.  Now he's a fledgling entrepreneur producing sanitation facilities. He makes healthy toilets and septic tanks, and helps install them.

“I am very happy with my life now. Not only has my new business boosted my family income, but I am also helping make my village become healthier,” Warga said proudly.

With the sanitation facility business growing in his village, Warga and the people in his community hope that their village will soon be open defecation free.

Sanitation entrepreneurs provide local solutions

Warga is one of many sanitation entrepreneurs who have started their own business with the support of the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (WSP). The program is expanding their outreach to entrepreneurs seeking to provide affordable sanitation facilities.  Since an increase in advocacy activities, interest has also intensified.

The sanitation entrepreneurs receive training in producing facilities, as well as assistance in obtaining credit  also support from local banks and links to markets. They then provide a one-stop service for the community’s sanitation needs, which include installing household sanitation facilities and help in facilitating credit for payment.

There remains lots of room for potential for this enterprise.  WSP estimates that 100 million people in Indonesia lack proper sanitation facilities, and as many as 66 million still practice open defecation.

With many villagers citing cost as a deterrent to better hygiene, providing affordable sanitation facilities is key in tackling open defecation. Locally produced sanitation facilities are cheaper than existing models. For each household, a complete set range from Rp 550,000 to Rp 1,2000,000 (US$ 55-120).

" I’ve recently installed a sanitation facility in my house. Our family wanted to have one for some time, but can only afford it now by buying one made in our own village "


From Ponggang Village in West Java

The cost of poor sanitation for Indonesia

Sanitation remains a large problem for Indonesia. Annually, untreated sewage emit some 6 million tons of human waste into water channels. Open defecation remains one of the leading causes.

Poor sanitation conditions lead to a high prevalence of fecal-borne diseases, such as typhoid and diarrhea, which in any two-week period afflicts 11 percent of Indonesia’s children. Each year, these disease are linked directly to more than 40,000 deaths among Indonesian children under five. More pollutants in the water also prompt higher drinking water costs, at times by as much as 25 percent.

A World Bank study shows that Indonesia loses 2.4 percent of its GDP annually due to inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene and lack of access to safe water.

Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing Project

WSP is promoting better sanitation in a number of rural areas in Indonesia through the Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing project. The project undertakes advocacy activities to increase community’s awareness on the importance of sanitation, resulting in higher interest and demand.

A recent impact evaluation of the project in East Java shows that the project has brought direct health benefits and contributed to the improvement of water quality and decreasing water treatment costs. Results include a 30 percent reduction in diarrhea among children and lower prevalence of open defecation among households.

WSP is implementing the project in the provinces of East, Central and West Java, as well as Bali and Nusa Tenggara Barat.