The success of Desa Montong Belae to be free from sanitation problem is inseparable from the married couple of Muhaimin and Usniwati. The couple have produced local closets in Montong Belae that have driven the achievement of 100% pillar 1. They have also popularize Montong Belae as the closet producer.
Initially Muhaimin had no idea that he would be in the business of closet production. While he formerly was a farmer from Desa Sakra Barat who later moved to Montong Belae he just wanted to work in farm. However, his destiny changed his way to have got acquainted to YMP.
Amin, that is how he is called, belongs to ‘the first batch’ of training in closet production held by YMP in 2013. Together with other 46 participants, including Adi Khusnaedi (Desa Sikur Barat), he for the first time learned how to make closet from the team of trainers from Grobogan.
Since then, Desa Montong Belae started to get improved sanitation. When the village administrators purchase closets from Amin to be distributed to the people who have no toilets, people’s behavior started to change. Of course, village cadres played an important role because it was the cadres who periodically visit households to monitor and encourage people to have sanitary and hygienic behavior.
Usniwati, the Woman behind Sanitation Marketing in Montong Belae
A woman with oval face was one of the people who met me. “Yes, I take part in closet production,” she said with a cheerful smile. Usniwati is Amin’s wife who also works in farming and animal husbandry.
“Initially we did the parts that we could do. But now we can do every part. Only painting that we couldn’t yet. Ibu Ellen (Ellena Rahmawati, Executive Director of YMP-red) once examined our products and said, ‘this is already good.’ She asked me and Pak Adi Khusnaedi’s wife (closet craftsman from Sikur Barat) to learn,” said the woman who is selected as a woman of inspiration by an NGO in Lombok Timur.
When they were asked the exact time they started to make closet, Amin and Usniwati jointly said that they had made closet together since the very beginning. Amin estimated that he has produced approximately 700 closets, and some of them are sold in building material shops. “In Sakra Barat, Jeru Aru and Keruak,” Amin mentioned the locations of the shops that sell his closets.
Using Toilet because of Feeling Ashamed
Although they are not actively involved in other STBM activities, Amin and Usniwati realized the changes in their village based on their observation. “Yes, it is cleaner. Previously, we found many human feces around,” Amin said. Households’ waste are no longer littered. “If we find waste, it derives from other places,” Amin continued.
Sakmah, one of the villagers who now have toilet added that she previously had that bad habit. The mother of two children admitted to have used toilets in the last 2 years after she had her own house and got closet from the village.1 Previously, when she still joined with her mother, when Sakmah wanted to defecate, “I did it at the river,” she said.
“Everybody here defecated either at the water stream or at the forest behind us,” she explained the previous condition. STBM is currently practiced. Now, Sakmah feels convenient with her own toilet. “It’s good. It is enough (to flush with) two (small) piles, the dirt is flushed, done,” she said about the quality of closet made by Amin. When she was asked if she would like to defecate in the river? “No way. Digita buit (people will see my buttorcks -red),” she laughed.
According to Amin, the key success of STBM in Desa Montong Belae is the effective approach of YMP that successfully excite people’s awareness. The involvement of multi stakeholders such as puskesmas, Camat, and cadres that consistently monitor the progress is also important in encouraging the changes.
Amin and Usniwati have felt the economic benefits from the closet business and want to take the job in addition to the job as farmers. The closets with the brand SKSB that stands for Sanitasi Keruak Sehat Bersatu, are ready to be marketed throughout Kecamatan Keruak.
What is Sanitation Marketing?
Sanitation marketing is the application of the best social and commercial marketing practices to change behavior and to scale up the demand and supply for improved sanitation, particularly among the poor. In SHAW STBM, sanitation marketing also means to introduce cheap closet to local people.
The main objective of sanitation marketing is improving access to sanitation facilities.
Therefore, as a part of sanitation facility, closet has to be affordable and accessible. The closets made by the craftsmen trained by YMP are cheap because they are made of cement and this is easily practiced as a home industry. Therefore, not only has the marketed sanitation facility met sanitary and hygienic standards.
Article by SIMAVI. Courtesy Photo, SIMAVI.