Local officials in a district in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province are trying out social “contracts” to encourage villagers to build and use latrines. So far five families in the province’s Timor Tengah Selatan District have signed such a contract, which is countersigned by representatives of three levels of government.
Even though 80% of households in the district have latrines, less than half of them are used, according to local officials. Open defecation is common and people don’t wash their hands.
When asked if there were penalties or fines for people who broke a “contract”, officials said shame is a “heavy price to pay in village settings and enforcement was not a concern”.
The 2010 national health survey (RISKESDAS) revealed that 21.6% of people in NTT Province practice open defecation, compared to 17.2% for the whole of Indonesia. Surprisingly though, the survey showed that people in Indonesia have access to safe sanitation (55%) than to improved drinking water (45.1% nationally and only 25.9% in the capital Jakarta). The survey report states that there is a decrease in the level of household access to improved drinking water sources, especially in urban areas.”