Environmental Health


Drinking Water Supply and Behavior Change

All human and others living in this earth need drinking water for survival, in particular for living on very limited water resources. Facing climate change that happened very agressively, the challenge of accessing clean water for drinking is more bothering us, since the water resources and supplies are decreasing time to time. If there is water resources available, its location is far from housing area that happened for people living in very remote islands. If any water supplies, this situation sometimes can not guarantee that supplies are free from bacterial and virus contamination that danger for our lives.

In cooperation with local government, community groups in remote areas with problem of limited water resources, CD Bethesda develops drinking water supply program and behavior changes initiatives. Considering that without behavior changes interventions, physical activity on providing clean water would be nothing, because rural people will have no knowledge how to be healthy and keep on hygien life to maintain their quality of life. In physical sector, the activities are: rainwater catchment/container to keep rainwater or dropped water to be utilized during dry season, pipes installation and its maintenance done by water management organization (formed by rural communities) and other installation using eco-friendly technology. We urge that all technology could be done by community itself. The goal of drinking water supply program principally is bringing access closer with and to guarantee the safety of women, children, and men on taking water from its sources.

After drinking water available and accessible, does this condition automatical bring community health and environment on better situation? Of course, not. CD Bethesda’s experience shows that without the awareness of good sanitation and hygiene, physical program will end to nothing. The public health remains on threated by water-borne and bad sanitation-borne illness. Therefore, this is very important to emphasize behavior change intervention while carrying water program. This intervention is needed to create awareness how to use clean water to support community health as comprehensively.

One of the high ranking illness suffered by community is water-borne and bad treatment-borne illness, such as diarrhea, disentry, etc. Although people is not far from water resources, and then has no problem with availability,  we often see that people never wash their hands on critical moments, still have habit on free defecation, even consume unboiled water. Then they are very vulnerable to suffer diarrhea, dysentri, cholera, etc, because the water they drink is on not good quality. That’s the reason why CD Bethesda recognizes the importance of behavior change intervention, through optimalize the rule of health cadres in villages, health officers as promotor in their respective community. The method of promotion is known as triggering, adopting Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). This method could be adapted for rural and urban community, also in the schools. CLTS strategy is effective to emerge community awareness to build sanitation facilities, not only latrine, but others such as hand-washing facilities, garbage, etc, using local resources. By using this method, we do not have to provide huge subsidies to build latrine, because households aware and want to build latrine by themselves. Program coming from government in sanitation sector is clean water and sanitation placed on public area, and to increase sanitation ladder towards better and permanent level, because government has provide many supports for its communities.

We realize that behavior change never need short time. Therefore, this effort need more holistic and comprehensive that involves all stakeholder related to sanitation and water issues.

Sanitation Innovative

In many cases, rural communities is reluctant to build latrine/toilet with reason that they have no money to buy material needed on latrine construction. In fact, the perception about healthy toilet sometimes is not correct, that healthy toilet needs expensive material such as flush latrine model. Ministry of Health announced to correct perspective of health toilet. They mention that good toilet or sanitation facilities are facilities that cut contamination flow of illness, whatever its models.Simple latrine could be mentioned as healthy toilet when it is covered as well to avoid vectors come and spread bacteria.

Within the limitation of water resources, funds, and other material, communities have to create innovation on building sanitation facilities. They are free to use local material (bamboo, woods, stones, etc) to construct latrine and other facilitites. In Sumba, for example, rural communities use woods and stones on building latrine, because it will be more accesible and cheaper.

For hand-washing facilities, they use tippy tap since this type is easier to be made and cheaper, while also good to overcome limited water condition. bamboo is also good to utilized as hand-washing tools.