The women of Sikara Tobata village recently formed the Healthy Orchid Care group to raise awareness about community and family health issues. Recently, the women came together to learn about the five pillars of Community-Based Total Sanitation, a participatory process by which people come together assess the sanitation and hygiene in their community. The process creates an open space for neighbors to come together, to think and talk and then act on important issues like stopping open defecation, which is a major concern in many rural villages across Indonesia and much of southeast Asia.
“Today’s lesson was about ‘triggering’ the process”, said Fuijastuti, the community health volunteer who leads the Healthy Orchid Care group. As part of the activity, group members mapped places where people openly defecate in their villages and then they learned about the ways water, and air, are contaminated by it. “All of the people in our community still don’t have toilets, so they go to the river or forest to defecate”. Happy for the chance to teach others about the risks to public health from open defection and contaminated water use, Fuijastuti shared her pride at being part of the solution to Indonesia’s open defecation problem, which affects nearly 25 million people and spreads cholera, diarrhea and dysentery. The formation of these groups like Healthy Orchid Care will help communities change their behavior to help improve everyone’s health.
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