NATSEM Seminar Series

Water and sanitation program in decentralized Eastern Indonesia: the roles of community and social dynamics

Tue 11 June 2019Dr Yogi Vidyattama, Associate Professor at the NATSEM, University of Canberra / 12:00pm - 1:00pmFishbowl, Building 24, University of Canberra


Water and sanitation remain one of the challenging issues in many developing countries including Indonesia. The recent decentralization was expected to play a big role in development program that addresses local issue including water and sanitation. Although decentralization may offer better service to society by closing the gap between government and society at local level, the lack of capability of local governments could be a barrier to deliver the water and sanitation services. Therefore, World Bank has been supporting Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) as an alternative solution to overcome this problem. This policy model suggests that behavioural change is a crucial part of the service delivery and the communities can be encouraged to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of Open Defecation and take their own action. One of the main approaches is the triggering step which known for its ‘transect walk’, aiming to educate the community about the process and the danger of diseases spreading from open defecation. But how does it work in reality? This research analyses sanitation issue in two poor districts in Eastern Indonesia, TTS and Sikka of East Nusatenggara, to see how the community in the poorer region may be able to develop their sanitation service through CLTS. The two districts have a very different record with regard to sanitation. Despite slightly worse off in terms of income of development index, TTS surprisingly has more access to toilets than Sikka are worse than the national average. With less access to toilets, the proportion of open defecation in Sikka is also higher. This research is qualitative study based on survey and in-depth interview that were conducted in two waves. The first aimed to map actors, problems and basic information about the water and sanitation program in the two districts and identify key focal points in the program. The second wave focused on households as community members to collect information and perceptions from communities over the water and sanitation project. The result shows how important the local (district) government role has become. Besides setting the policy framework, local government also needs to be more involved in the implementation especially in communicating and coordinating the delivery of the program. This is despite the active involvement of NGOs and the local community. This study shows that in the implementation, good, consistent and continuing communication can be more important than the triggering step in CLTS. This needs to be adapted to the socio-economic-geographical conditions and the local culture in the area. This includes the possibility of financial assistance, which is not suggested in the original CLTS method.


Yogi Vidyattama is a Senior Research Fellow of the Regional and Urban Modelling (RUM) Team. He graduated with a PhD in Economics from the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, where he holds an ANU Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship. He has been with NATSEM since 2008 after having previously spent three years as a research assistant and tutor at the Research School of Pacific and Asia Studies and Crawford School, ANU (2005-2008) and five years at the Institute of Economic and Social Research, University of Indonesia (1999-2004).

Yogi has focused his work on spatial and geographical economic analysis and is highly experienced in microsimulation modelling, economic growth, income and wealth distribution and inequality.  His current principal areas of research include: spatial impact of government policy; housing affordability; spatial distribution of inequality and disadvantage; and analysis of wealth and superannuation.

Yogi has published extensively in academic and policy journals, such as Regional Studies, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Australian Geographer, The Economic Record, Economic Papers, Housing Studies and the Australasian Journal of Regional Studies and through commissioned and public reports. His work has been influential in driving public debates and influencing policy and legislation in Australia and Indonesia. In Australia he has been involved in several government benefit modellings for the Parliamentary Library, age pension and gender wage gap, and while in Indonesia, his works included fiscal decentralisation, funding for human development progress in Indonesia, the Contingent Liabilities assessment of the Central Government Budget, and initial estimations of the impact of the Aceh Tsunami.

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