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Plan Indonesia wins top award for sanitation project

Proper hand-washing is an important element for healthy hygiene
Proper hand-washing is an important element for healthy hygiene.

A Plan project in Indonesia has won the top prize in a prestigious, global competition that recognizes innovation in water engineering.

Plan Indonesia’s Grobogan-based ”Scaling-Up Project” won the top honour in the this year’s International Water Association Project Innovation Awards, Sanitation and Wastewater – Software category. The award ceremony will be held in Malaysia from November 21-24.

The judging panel praised the project for its innovative approach to sanitation. They based their assessment on the fact that the project was led by the community itself and had an excellent participation rate.

Tackling open defecation

The ”Scaling-Up Project” focuses on stopping open-air defecation to improve community health. It will support 153 villages in reaching open defecation-free (ODF) status by June 2012.

Plan uses a Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach, which helps communities to identify sanitation and hygiene problems and puts them in control of doing something about it.

The project is helping communities build their own latrines and is reaching out to local government to ensure sustainability and a commitment to reduce the prevalence of diarrhea in the area.

Health threat

A CLTS approach was urgently needed because diarrhea has been a major issue in the region of Grobogan, as a result of open defecation.

The project kicked off by introducing the concept to members of local government and the first milestone was reached in June 2010 when officials announced their intentions to make Grobogan an ODF district.

Safe sanitation

The local government has now committed to ensuring the people of Grobogan have safe and proper access to toilet facilities, which will improve the health of children and families in the area.

To date, 49 villages – home to 169,000 people – have already been declared ODF, thanks to the construction of more than 3,200 toilets though this project.