NE: Hello listeners. Welcome to the USA-Indonesia 70 th podcast with me, Nataya Ermanti. Just sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy great talks with some notable personalities whose lives are influenced by harmonies created by the two nations. We are now joined by Trigeany Linggoatmodjo from the USAID Environment Office, who is managing Indonesia—Urban Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, or Penyehatan Lingkungan untuk Semua, or shortly known as the IUWASH PLUS project. Tri, thank you for joining us. Let’s talk about the basics to bring everyone to the same page. What is IUWASH PLUS and what is the objective of this USAID project?
IT: Hi! I’m so glad to be here, too. IUWASH PLUS is a USAID project in collaboration with the government of Indonesia to increase access to safely-managed water sources and safely-managed sanitation. This is the two countries working together for Indonesia to achieve the goal on access to water and sanitation for all, especially those in the bottom 40% by wealth or the poorer communities.
NE: Okay. So we know that IUWASH PLUS has partnered with the government at the national and local level across Indonesia as well as with other stakeholders to work on better water and sanitation services for the communities. Could you tell us more about those incredible collaborations?
IT: Sure! The way that we are selecting the cities that IUWASH PLUS will work with is closely working with our national government counterpart on which cities are really in need of this support. They also need to come up with the commitment, so they are willing to help the poor with access to water and sanitation. So right now we are working with 32 municipalities, in 8 provinces--
NE: 8 provinces.
IT: 8 provinces. And soon we will have additional cities, so it will be a total of 35 until the end of 2021.
NE: Okay. Wow, that’s a great number! Are there any outcomes from past USAID Wash projects that you would like to highlight?
IT: USAID has been working with government of Indonesia for around 15 years, and together we have improved access to clean water and sanitation services for nearly 5 million Indonesians.
NE: That’s awesome! That’s what we need. Okay, go on.
IT: The work’s not yet done because many still need more, so during IUWASH PLUS, we need to provide at least 1.1 million people, half of them will come from poorer communities, and also safely manage sanitation for 500,000 people.
NE: Thank you, Tri! That’s so enlightening. We know sanitation and water is the key to a better life for a lot of people in Indonesia, because we know a lot of people are so in need of better access to clean water. I’m interested to know, are there any inspiring stories from the field that you want to share?
IT: There is one and it’s really recent, from the World Water Day celebration this year. So, Pa k Suprapto, he lives in Bekasi City, he used to spend lots of money on monthly basics to buy clean water. Through IUWASH PLUS and the Bekasi City government, there is a potential to connect to the water supply system. He told his wife to register-- “Hurry, don’t be late registering!” So now, they can get clean water exactly at their house. The wife doesn’t have to go to the neighborhood well or get water from the water vendor coming. Now they can save 290,000 rupiah per month.
NE: That’s good to know.
IT: That’s a lot, especially since Pa Suprapto is selling bakso (Indonesian meatballs), so he needs the water every day to cook the bakso.
NE: That’s so important, because bakso is everyone’s favorite! Wow, that’s really interesting. Any other stories probably besides the Pak Suprapto one?
IT: Yes, there is one about one of our sanitation ambassadors, so maybe we know her—Ikke Nurjanah.
NE: Oh, I know her!
IT: She told us a story from her childhood. She lives near the airport in Bandung, and every time she needs to go to the toilet, she needs to bring an umbrella and bucket.
IT: A bucket to bring the water and the umbrella to cover her from any planes that are going to land or take off from that airport.
IT: So now she realizes that it’s open defecation, so now she’s helping many more Indonesians to get access to toilets. That’s really important. People don’t have to go out of the house and then find a place and really hide from everything, but having it in your house with clean water available—that will change a lot in your daily life.
NE: Just imagine having to bring an umbrella and a bucket to the bathroom every time you had to go.
IT: Can you imagine?
NE: No, I can’t. It’s hard enough to bring over my phone, imagine adding an umbrella and a bucket to it. I believe that the project that you’re dealing with, not always the fun stuff and everything. Are there any challenges?
IT: Yeah. The water utilities, we call them PDAMS, are now having big problems having water available for them to treat and distribute. Now we are working with the partners, making sure that the rainfall is not going to be surface run-off, but that it’s going to fill up the ground water, and then we can have enough water. Because otherwise the water cycle in our nature will be disrupted and it will not have enough water. And water is kind of the gold, yeah? It’s going to be another gold if we are not taking care of our land, making sure that it will have enough water. So that’s something we are working on for the water source protection, protect the water source from the rich, from the uphill, from the watershed areas, making sure that dowNEill, people can enjoy the water.
NE: Oh yeah, I cannot agree more on that. And I’ve talked about the collaborations that you’ve done with our government, the Indonesian government. Any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?
IT: Right now we have really lots of committee partners—our government of Indonesia but also our communities and our private sector partners. So we know we have one joint goal that we need to achieve together.
NE: Which is?
IT: Which is every Indonesian will have access to clean water and safely managed sanitation.
NE: That’s a good goal.
IT: That’s in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, that every country will need to provide that by 2030. So it’s now 2019, we still have time to make our dreams come true.
NE: A lot of time actually! So what does that goal mean? Does it mean that we in the future are expecting to be able to drink straight from tap water, just like we do overseas?
IT: A good wish that is also the wish of us all.
NE: It is my personal wish actually!
IT: Right now we have to buy our water.
NE: Yeah, we do.
IT: If we are able to have the water treatment plant from the PDAM, then we can open our tap at home and drink it instantly because it’s already clean and safe. That would be really our goal. In some countries only in the world we can do that. In Indonesia, in some areas, they already have that. We are sure with the commitment from our president and vice president recently, the administration would like to have 10 new water connections. So that’s something that would connect every Indonesian with this basic need, so every day we don’t have to really look around and look for water. It doesn’t have to be that.
NE: That’s gonna be convenient, being able to drink tap water.
IT: And healthy life, too!
NE: Sure, yeah! I agree.
IT: Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap, because having clean water only will not be able
NE: Remember folks! Wash your hands with water and soap, okay? Well, Ibu Tri, I enjoyed your stories a lot. If listeners want to know more about USAID or your IUWASH PLUS activities, updates, and news, where do they go?
IT: For more information about USAID’s water sanitation initiatives, please visit the website of USAID Indonesia—www.usaid.gov/indonesia. For IUWASH PLUS, just Google “IUWASH PLUS” and you can get information about the activities in each of our project sites.
NE: Cool! Yeah, because the information is all accessible.
IT: Or, if you like social media and are connected to Instagram, there’s also Air Sanitasi for iOS. IUWASH PLUS and USAID also have Instagram.
NE: Only Instagram, yeah?
IT: Facebook as well.
NE: Cool! Alright Ibu Tri, before we end this incredible talk, our country is currently celebrating the 70 th anniversary with the United States of America. Do you have any personal wish for the diplomatic ties, for the awesome relationship that has been maintained?
IT: It has been a really good partnership between the two countries, and, recently, USAID would like to help Indonesia further on Indonesia’s journey to self-reliance, which means that Indonesia will be able to plan, finance, and implement every dream that we have, including the water sanitation map we just discussed.
NE: Let’s hope so. It’s a good wish. Ibu Tri, thank you very much! Listeners, thank you for listening. Have a good day!