Indonesia is one of the several countries still facing sanitation problems, as most of its population, particularly in rural areas, continues to follow an unhealthy lifestyle practice of open defecation.
Most community members in several regions across the country continue to live without proper sanitation facilities for which they are compelled to practice open defecation.
Hence, the government will continue to optimize various funding sources to support the achievement of sustainable sanitation development at the national and global levels.
To increase the commitment of sanitation development at the regional level, the Government of Indonesia is working with all stakeholders to implement sustainable sanitation services by optimizing various funding sources.
This effort is carried out in order to achieve 100 percent universal access to sanitation by 2019, as targeted in the 2015-2019 National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the Minister of National Development Planning (Bappenas) Bambang Brodjonegoro in a recent statement.
In an effort to support this program, the government has prepared Special Allocation Funds that are used to improve sanitation infrastructure in rural areas.
Sanitation infrastructure has been improved in several regions, including West Nusa Tenggara, East Java, West Java, Central Java, and South Kalimantan, totaling more than US$285 million, with an average annual increase of 10 percent since 2010.
In addition, the government had prepared village funds for sanitation development that became the authority of the village, with a total budget of $16.2 billion during the 2016-2018 period.
There are also sanitation grants, which are output-based assistance from development partners, provided by the central government to local governments to build drinking water and sanitation infrastructure, with a total budget of $103.1 million that has been disbursed.
In addition, the government has prepared zakat funds, which are alternative funding schemes originating from Islamic community groups in the framework of providing drinking water and sanitation services in Indonesia.
The minister of Bappenas remarked that as a country, with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has the potential of zakat funds, with a large contribution of some $14.5 billion.
Optimally, zakat funds can be collected from Indonesian Muslims, one of which is used for drinking water and sanitation development programs.
Currently, four regions that have implemented this zakat fund are West Nusa Tenggara, Banten, Central Java, and South Sumatra, with a total funding of more than $88 thousand.
The drinking water and sanitation development program with the Zakat, Infaq, Alms and Endowments (ZISWAF) funding scheme is expected to become a showcase to attract funding from abroad, so that it can support Indonesia`s ambition to provide 100 percent of universal sanitation access by 2019.
The Government of Indonesia had succeeded in reducing the Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 1.4 percent per year, from 24.8 percent in 2007 to 10.41 percent in 2017.
Indonesia also managed to increase national sanitation access by two percent per year, from 58.77 percent in 2007 to 76.92 percent in 2017.
With the national approach to Community-Based Total Sanitation (STBM), the Government of Indonesia continues to strive to promote hygienic behavior and sanitation through community empowerment.
Sanitation development can be seen as having a huge impact on the people`s health and environment, as well as productivity of Indonesian people.
Hence, youngsters have been encouraged to help the government in its efforts to achieve the target of 100 percent access to sanitation by the end of 2019.
Youngsters in Indonesia are expected to become the agents of change who are concerned about sanitation and act as role models for the public to follow a healthy lifestyle.
With its creativity, diverse ideas, and new innovations, the younger generation can help solve sanitation problems in various regions across the country.
As the future successors of the nation, youngsters have the potential and ability to become the agents of change in urging both the neighborhood community heads and the public to care for environmental sanitation and sustainable settlement.
The Government of Indonesia is committed to creating livable and sustainable settlements by pursuing infrastructure development in various fields of housing, water, and sanitation.
To achieve these objectives, the support of all stakeholders is needed to encourage all elements of society to care and play an active role in addressing the sanitation problems that exist today.
The directorate of environmental and sanitation development at the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing affirmed that the target of the government`s RPJMN for 2015-2019 is to implement the 100-0-100 mandated program, which means 100 percent access to potable water, zero percent slum-free areas, and 100 percent access to sanitation by the end of 2019.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla had also remarked that the problem of sanitation was not something to be discussed but rather to be addressed.
According to Kalla, important aspects to be considered in terms of improving sanitation are the regular cleanup of water sewers and drains by the community members and the local government, as these efforts can sustainably provide a healthy environment for all.
Editing by Othniel