Sanitation by Communities - Sanimas

An estimated 75 million people in Indonesia lack basic sanitation facilities. Less than 5% of the population is served by conventional sewerage system. Therefore millions of Indonesian urban residents discharge human excrement and household wastewater either directly into the aquatic environment or indirectly into the groundwater via sedimentation tanks and percolation pits. As a result, river water in or near urban areas contains a high proportion of organic pollutants while the groundwater in almost all cities is contaminated by E. coli bacteria. The latter is of particular concern because many people use wells as their primary source of drinking water. It is estimated that the 6 million cases of diarrhea in Indonesia each year result in the deaths of more than 20,000 children, mostly among the urban poor.
To tackle the sanitation problem in Indonesia, the SANIMAS program (Sanitation by Communities) was developed by BORDA and the partner network in close co-operation with the inter-ministerial Water and Environmental Sanitation Working Group, chaired by the National Development Agency (BAPPENAS).   
The SANIMAS approach was intended to assist local governments and poor urban communities to plan, implement and maintain community sanitation systems of their choice (simplified sewerage, community sanitation center, shared septic tank).

The main principles of SANIMAS are:

  • Demand responsive approach
  • Standardized implementation practices
  • Community self-selection process
  • Informed choice
  • Multi-stakeholder funding and contribution
  • In-build Capacity Development & Training Programs
  • PPP management of infrastructure and facilities
  • Impact monitoring

The challenge of SANIMAS in the beginning was to combine three inter-related outcomes in one project:
Ownership by the community - A successful SANIMAS national program would require, not only a sense of ownership among central government agencies, but also a sense of ownership at the provincial, city, and community levels.  
A high longevity rate - A high rate of sustainability was to be achieved through efficient physical works that were constructed to specifications and a community that was committed to operating and caring for the works.
Enhanced community involvement - SANIMAS was designed to stimulate community involvement through civil society rather than through local government facilitators.  The advantage of using civil society was that NGOs traditionally form bridges between communities and local governments.   

A typical project produced a low-cost simple sewerage system consisting of household sanitation facilities linked by a network of small-bore feeder sewers to a local wastewater treatment plant (DEWATS). In areas where low-income people resided in rented settlements, public community sanitation centers (MCKs) were constructed, consisting of toilets and bathrooms connected to a wastewater treatment facility. Each of the developed CBS systems serves from 50 to 100 urban households, depending on the size of RTs and RWs (the two smallest administrative units in the Indonesian Government).

After the first idea and pilot phase (1998-2003) and the time when SANIMAS was improved and disseminated nationwide (2003-2010) now the program will be up-scaled to give more and more people the chance to become active for their own sanitation system.