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Safe and clean drinking water is a basic human right. However, out of 274,000 public schools in Indonesia, most do not provide drinking water for children.
Bringing water from households also poses a problem. Water sources in Indonesia (wells, tap, and rainwater) cannot be consumed directly without further processing. In rural areas, 95% of the people boil water to drink, which is costly and has risks of contamination. Indonesian households spend around $11 per month on drinking water, which adds economic burden for people living in the poverty line of $2 dollars per day.
The absence of safe drinking water causes health and environmental problems for children. More than 150,000 children die every year due to diarrheal diseases. Children also gravitate to buying cheaper drinks at school, usually sweet drinks with plastic packaging, contributing to single-use waste. Lack of water consumption also causes dehydration, that include symptoms of lower concentration and fatigue that can affect students’ capacity and ability to learn.
Drinking Water Project is our initiative as to provide public schools in Indonesia with water filter facilities and education on health and environment through weekly campaigns.
Since 2016, we have reached a total of 63 elementary school partners in Yogyakarta, Pacitan (East Java), Fak-Fak (West Papua), and Lebak (Banten).
The project has a three-fold impact on the environment, on the student’s health, and on the local economy, as follows:
Ecological Impact – The installation of water filtration systems allows children to refill bottles, which leads to a reduction of plastic waste.
State of Health – The combination of the practical solution, installing water filters, and additionally providing educational programs, is essential to reach the children and help them understand the importance of staying hydrated and avoiding sugary drinks.
Economic Impact – Families living on the daily-standard poverty budget of around 2 USD per day face a daily struggle with attempting to provide for their most essential needs. Providing free drinking water for their children at school will reduce the money parents are forced to spend on purchasing water bottles.
Water Filter Maintenance
Project Child Indonesia installs water filters for free in partner schools, sourced from various crowdfunding and sponsors.
To ensure sustainability and a sense of collective ownership of the water filters, $0.03 is collected from each student as maintenance that is managed entirely by individual schools. The cost for the water filter maintenance is $0.007 per liter. It is 40 times cheaper than the price of bottled mineral water in the market. The fund collected is utilized to continuously substitute the ceramic component of the filter.
Project Child Indonesia involves the teachers and parents to form a “Drinking Water Committee”, who helps us provide assistance based on schools’ customized needs, namely their water sources and fund-collecting methods for maintenance.
Previous research conducted with partner universities found that 53.5% of students in schools that have drinking water filter system installed have adequate drinking water consumption, compared to only 34.2% of students in schools without a drinking water filter system.
In May 2018, we have also conducted a study on environmental understanding of elementary school students, which showed that students from drinking water partner schools have a better understanding (87.34%) than other schools (83.05%).
The results of the two studies above show that the Drinking Water Project initiated by Project Child Indonesia has an influence on students in increasing drinking water consumption rates and a better understanding on the environment.
We hope to incorporate our Drinking Water Project to our “Hope Spots” communities throughout our Mindful Movement Indonesia project. We aim to reach 10.000 children in 11 cities across Indonesia.