Fighting for ecological justice

Advocating Access to Proper Sanitation for Citizen of Lampung

In 2016, data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) stated that 58.58% of households in Lampung Province had access to proper sanitation. The situation makes Lampung the province with the eighth worst sanitation in Indonesia. This dark situation prompted Febrilia Ekawati, a Kaoem Telapak member from Lampung, to campaign and advocate for proper sanitation in the province.

Febrilia’s first meeting with Kaoem Telapak took place during a discussion activity. At that time, Kaoem Telapak was previously called Telapak. Febri was an agricultural instructor who engaged with the Indonesia Farmers Union. The discussion talked about environmental issues in Lampung Province.

After that meeting, Febri actively attended discussion activities held by Kaoem Telapak in Lampung. Then, in 2010, she became a cadre member and took part in the basic training of the Telapak Movement. After completing his education, Febri was appointed a member in 2011.

In 2012, Kaoem Telapak had a program called Air Telapak. This program aims to increase community participation in managing their water resources. Febri was also involved in the discussions on water resources governance held by Kaoem Telapak. From here, Febri admitted that his knowledge of water resources management increased, “I learned a lot about IWRM, Integrated Water Resource Management, there (Kaoem Telapak – ed),” said Febri.

At the beginning of his advocacy work on access to proper sanitation, Febri admitted that the government was resistant. They questioned the importance of adequate sanitation. Febri also explained that the effects of poor sanitation had an impact on the vulnerability of residents to disease, which continued to decrease productivity, so in the end, people’s income would also fall. Febri also explained the research results as material for his advocacy, “The World Bank says a figure of 56 trillion rupiah in losses due to poor sanitation,” said Febri.

Febrilia Ekawati, member of Kaoem Telapak from Lampung

To ensure people can access proper sanitation, Febri advocates for policies, institutions, and budgets. Policy advocacy is related to accelerating access to using existing regulations or fighting for laws that must exist. Institutional advocacy is related to efforts to form a team that can accelerate access. Meanwhile, budget advocacy includes efforts to allocate funds, including infrastructure funds or subsidies, as a stimulus.

“An example of success is the allocation of village funds to improve proper sanitation in villages,” said Febri.

This success story has challenges. Febri said that he faced many challenges in advocating for proper sanitation. Long processes and endless negotiations are common challenges in supporting the issues. The carrying capacity needs to be balanced. “We must continue to ensure people shifted their behaviours towards sanitation,” said Febri.

After years of campaigning for the right to access proper sanitation, the expected results are starting to show. In 2017, Febri ignited clean sanitation in Way Kanan Regency in Lampung. Next year, in 2018, She continued to promote clean sanitation in Pringsewu Regency. The results revealed the two regencies got Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, meaning that people are no longer defecating in the open, and the sanitation infrastructure is quite good. After that, Febri kept advocating proper sanitation in two areas in Lampung. She works in Metro City and Lampung Tengah Regency. Those two areas are now ODF status. “Now there are seven regencies with ODF status,” said Febri.

BPS data for 2022 states that 83.65% of households in Lampung Province have access to proper sanitation.

This significant change in Lampung Province has continued Febri from campaigning for access to proper sanitation. He admits that he continues to mainstream issues through networking with the media. “Even now, we still don’t stop (campaigning – ed), using the role of the media we network and routinely make news once every three months,” said Febri.