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Who is the 'latrine boss' of Indonesia?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Approximately 237 million people live in more than 16,000 islands that make up the nation of Indonesia. According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program on drinking water and sanitation, a staggering 62 million Indonesians still defecate in the open, using fields and waterways to complete their most private business. The Association of Grobogan Sanitation Entrepreneurs (PAPSIGRO) is a group of sanitation marketers who are hoping to do a thing or million about this.

The story of how PAPSIGRO formed is a neat one. In 2011,Plan Indonesia provided training for 15 sanitarians from local health centres and 65 masons from the 10 sub-districts that form the larger District of Grobogan in the east of Central Java in Indonesia. These selected ‘entrepreneurs’ learnt how to produce toilet pans, concrete rings and toilet packages which could be sold to local communities to meet the demand that was being created by ‘triggering’ that was part of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) process. CLTS was being implemented by Plan Indonesia in partnership with the local Government to support the sub-districts to attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. The vision was that households would stop defecating in their fields or the waterways, and rather use one location where there was an improved pit latrine.

Following the training, the ‘entrepreneurs’ returned home with their new set of skills to begin creating toilet pans to meet the sanitation needs of the locals living in the District of Grobogan. In the beginning, they were able to loan sand and cement from the local material store to get their business up and running. Paryadi, a local man from Dorolegi and newly trained sanitation marketer borrowed one sack of cement. From this he was able to make 13 toilet pans, which sold quickly for between Rp. 40,000-50,000 (US$4-5) each. This was a much more affordable option for his neighbours than was available at the market for Rp. 200,000 (US$20). Paryadi’s business grew quickly and in no time he had sold over 300 latrines. He began to expand to produce buis beton or concrete rings which function as a septic tank linked to the toilet. The production and installation of this impressive system costs between Rp. 500,000-1,400,000 (US$50-140).

 Many of Paryadi’s fellow sanitation marketers were experiencing similar and growing demand within their own communities. To help one another meet this need, on 30 July 2011, they formed the Association of Grobogan Sanitation Entrepreneurs or PAPSIGRO. Forming associations of similar businesses is a common practice in Indonesia and small business owners often find this helpful in advancing their operation. This group of entrepreneurs now works collectively, and in the year following until September 2012 they sold 335 toilet packages, 1,256 toilet pan, 2,293 concrete rings and 22 fibreglass toilet moulds. They have expanded their business beyond the District of Grobogan and now sell across the Indonesian island of Java. They have provided training to Government and a range of organisations in the art of sanitation marketing.

On a recent trip to Indonesia with Plan International, I was lucky enough to visit one of the communities in which PAPSIGRO works. There I met a man with a lovely new shiny blue pour-flush toilet, recently installed with dual septic tanks. He was very proud and happy with his family’s toilet. I also visited a vocational school where students were being trained as part of the school curriculum in the production of toilet pans to ensure the next generation of sanitation marketers is ready to go! The quality of the toilet pans they were producing was high enough that they were being used to fulfill the orders being placed to PAPSIGRO. PAPSIGRO are also exploring if they could work with this group of 15 students to start to develop toilet designs which are accessible and inclusive of marginalised populations, including those with a disability and children.

Finally, I visited the District Government Office of Grobogan and met with the Executive Secretary of the Grobogan Ministry. A very keen supporter of sanitation marketing, he explained how the Government is committed to making communities in Grobogan ODF.

It seems that all the key ingredients are necessary in the District of Grobogan so that sanitation marketing can increase sanitation coverage. There is supply, demand and the enabling environment which, as we learnt in the first webinar on Sanitation Marketing, are essential to its success.

So, who then has earned the title of latrine boss of Indonesia? Apparently, this belongs to Paryadi, the sanitation marketer from Dorelegi. Hundreds of his fellow community members have benefited from the affordable and high quality latrines that Paryadi has developed as a result of his sanitation marketing training. Village Head, Muh. Dawan said himself, “with affordable latrines from PAPSIGRO, everybody in this village can build their own toilet in their houses”, a huge achievement for sanitation, for Plan Indonesia and for Paryadi!

Plan International have published the story of Grobogan Community’s Journey towards becoming ODF in ‘Wiping Out Old Habits’ available here.

Georgia Savage is a Policy Intern at WaterAid Australia.


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Eka Setiawan commented on 29-Oct-2012 12:38 PM
Interesting Blog! :)
The toilets business in Grobogan is part of scaling up the sanitation to all people in Grobogan. The businessman (and businesswomen :)) shows that even without subsidy, people will still buy toilets for better living status.
We hope that many other small & mid size entrepreneurs will follow this business, as this business is promising!
Sincerely, Eka
Muhammad Izzudin commented on 29-Oct-2012 04:39 PM
After more than one year making the business in sanitation. Papsigro cited that there is a need for people with disability to access toilets. On May 2012, we have trained the entrepreneurs on how to design toilets for children below 13 years old and people with physical disability. Now they can fulfill the request from all community. The price is competitive enough though.
Sincerely, M.Izzudin

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