3 Questions

Asken Sinaga

Asken Sinaga is Simavi’s country representative in Indonesia. We talked to him about the SEHATI programme and its achievements in improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in Indonesia.


Can you tell us about the SEHATI programme?

“It’s a continuation of the SHAW programme, which ran from 2010-2015. The goal is to support the Indonesian government in achieving its sanitation target. Unlike the SHAW programme, where we implemented directly at community level, SEHATI works at district level. We work to improve the capacity of 7 district governments so that they can lead the implementation of a national sanitation programme in Indonesia. By the time SEHATI ends in 2019 we hope that the programme will have effected sustainable change by ensuring that sanitation programmes are prioritised and budgeted in government development plans.

Although the focus is on improving the capacity of local government and other stakeholders, SEHATI’s success indicator will not only be based on the capacity improvement in government levels, but sanitation improvement in community levels too. We believe that when government capacity is improved, the impact will be the improvement of sanitation in the community level.”



Why do you believe it is vital to improve access to WASH services?

“For two reasons. First, the coverage of access to water and sanitation in Indonesia is about 65% (on average). This figure indicates that Indonesia still needs support in the WASH sector. Second, our experience with the SHAW programme showed that one of the main WASH problems in Indonesia, particularly in East Indonesia where SEHATI works, is local government’s lack of capacity to implement the national sanitation programme. SEHATI was intentionally designed to address this issue, and its strategy and approaches have already been rated as quite promising – not just by us, but also by district governments.”



What do you see as the main challenge in reaching access to water and sanitation for all? And what results of the SEHATI programme are you most proud of?

“In Indonesia, the main challenges are: local governments’ lack of capacity; geographical factors and the climate of certain areas; lack of infrastructure and services; and a lack of awareness in communities.

In terms of results, I’m proud that the commitment of local government has materialised in SEHATI’s first year of implementation: WASH has been made a priority and WASH budgets have been allocated. In addition, I’m proud that national and local governments are convinced that SEHATI’s strategy and approaches are convincing enough to address Indonesia’s WASH problems on a national level.”

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