In September 2015, United Nations countries gathered at the United Nations Head Quarter to discuss a new platform to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This meeting concluded a new platform called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were signed by 193 countries. This platform included 16 major goals, which Clean Water and Sanitation becomes one of them. Water is a fundamental human need and particularly essential for the healthy development and growth of children.
To be properly functioned, our body requires adequate water intake. Especially for children at schools, drinking water intake affects their study performance. Project Child Indonesia recognizes that the majority of elementary schools in Yogyakarta do not provide drinking water. Most of the students purchase drinking water contained in plastic bottles or single-use plastics. Besides, based on a case study in Yogyakarta and Surabaya, environmental education at schools are still very limited (Parker, 2018). Environmental education is an important tool to increase student’s awareness of how our daily lives contribute to the environment.
Drinking Water Program is our initiative to answer the issues. We have been running the program since 2016, and we have a total of 63 elementary school partners spread in Yogyakarta, Pacitan (East Java), Fak-Fak (West Papua), and Lebak (Banten).
Through the Drinking Water Program, we support schools by providing water filter facilities and conduct a campaign on the topic of health and environmental issue.
The program will have 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 3 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.
Lyn Parker (2018) Environmentalism and education for sustainability in Indonesia, Indonesia and the Malay World, 46:136, 235-240, DOI: 10.1080/13639811.2018.1519994
Sustainable Development Goals, 2015, UNDP.