Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) Contextual Analysis/Formative Research for the Plan’s Water for Women Indonesia

Team Member: Dinar Dwi Prasetyo, Fatin Nuha Astini , Rizki Fillaili
Completion Year:
Nusa Tenggara Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur
Environment & Climate Change, Gender & Women, Health

Collaborating Partners



Description & Progress

Water for Women (WfW) Fund is an investment by the Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that is supporting a number of civil society organizations (CSOs) to implement 19 WASH projects in 16 countries throughout South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific over five years starting in late 2017.

Plan Indonesia and Plan International Australia (PIA) are working in partnership to deliver the only Water for Women (WfW) project in Indonesia. The WfW Fund places gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) at its core focus including the Fund’s goal: “Improved health, gender equality and well-being of Asia and Pacific communities through inclusive, sustainable WASH”. This project seeks to create transformative GESI changes at the practical as well as the strategic levels (i.e., those that change power dynamics between women and men). It stretches Plan Indonesia and PIA greatly with new and brave approaches, and deepens existing successful strategies.

Working across Kabupaten Manggarai and Kabupaten Sumbawa Barat, this project directly contributes to the Fund’s Outcomes. In rural areas, Plan Indonesia will work in partnership with local CSOs to catalyse change towards GESI responsive WASH, giving increased attention to intersecting work including with community-based total sanitation (STBM) program teams at district to village levels—particularly PKK (National Women’s Organization) and Posyandu (integrated health posts/cadres), and others (e.g., entrepreneurs and schools). 



The primary objectives of the research is to deepen the understanding of the current context with relation to GESI.

This GESI Formative Research will focus on collecting evidence to develop a deep understanding on current extent, underlying/core reasons, barriers, and opportunities—in the household and local public domains, and lightly on the broader public domain—in both project districts.  In addition, this research will also explore the impact of climate change on the daily life of the community, especially on water availability and water needs, and its relevance to GESI.



To be able to provide in-depth understanding of the current extent, underlying/core reasons, barriers, and opportunities, this research adopts qualitative and participatory approach in data collection and analysis. Data will be collected through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions at the household, community, village, subdistrict (kecamatan), and district (kabupaten) levels. The focus of this research will be at the household and community domain, and only lightly at the broader public domain.

This research is conducted in Kabupaten Sumbawa Barat (West Nusa Tenggara) and Kabupaten Manggarai (East Nusa Tenggara). Three villages—located in three kecamatan—in each kabupaten are selected as the study locations. The selection is based on, among other factors, the presence of previous WASH project, the location of Plan’s project, as well as socioeconomic and geographical conditions.


Research Findings

Both kabupatens took different approaches in the implementation of STBM:

  • The Kabupaten Sumbawa Barat approach tends to be Top Down with the PDPGR program in which there is a TUBABAS (100-day Regent Program), the provision of WC packages to households that do not have a WC without considering the level of household welfare (although the guidelines set the target to poor households). Although the TUBABAS program has meet the target of no open defecation at kabupaten level, the next challenge is to ensure that the behavioural changes are permanent, and there is an active effort from the community to independently realizing the next STBM pillar. In terms of sanitation, Kabupaten Sumbawa Barat has achieved the status of being ODF since 2017. For clean water, the main program is PAMSIMAS (just starting 2017) and Water and Sanitation grant program. Only PAMSIMAS formally incorporates a gender equality perspective, although in practice it is still weak. Other programs do not have a GESI perspective.
  • The approach of Kabupaten Manggarai is more bottom up; namely the implementation of STBM without subsidies through the process of triggering and building WC independently. Through this process, the achievement of the first STBM pillar is slower than in Kabupaten Sumbawa Barat. It is expected that through community self-help and initiative in the provision of toilets, there will be more permanent behaviour changes that ensure active community participation and avoiding the long-term impact of dependence on aid/subsidies. In addition, OPAM has been established (in 2018) to improve the maintenance of clean water facilities, but has not yet started operations. These programs do not explicitly use GESI perspective, although more women are attended, particularly during the triggering phase. Kabupaten Manggarai, has also progressed to achieve access in sanitation which has covered 88.23% of population in 2018.
  • Permanent behavioural changes related to all STBM pillars remain a challenge.  It is still found unhealthy practices in the communities such as, rarely hand washing with soap, drinking water directly from the sources, and unmanaged solid and liquid household waste. 
  • The GESI aspect in STBM in both kabupatens is still normative, mostly only to meet program requirements as stated in the guidelines, and still focusing on meeting the general target of STBM.
  • In an effort to improve gender equality, there are cultural barriers because of the strongly tradition to distinguish the domains of men and of women, both in the domestic and in the community spheres; despite the common understanding and acknowledgment of the need for gender equality and the presence of women leaders in the WASH sector, especially in Manggarai.
  • Participation and role of people with disabilities in community and public activities is still limited. PWD is still largely seen as the target beneficiaries of social protection program. There are no specific or affirmative actions by the government to purposively involving People with disability in community meetings and in decision making process.  In the WASH sector, the needs of PWD is fulfilled by and remains the main responsibilities of their family members. There are no adjustment made to the types and building of toilet to suit the needs of PWD. There are no WASH related activities that takes the needs of PWD into consideration. 
  • Climate change affects droughts and high rainfall in certain months in the study area. Both have an impact on community access, especially women and PWD, to clean water. In both Kabupaten Sumbawa Barat and Manggarai, the decrease of the quality and the amount of water caused by both disasters requires women, as the household water managers, to collect water from alternative sources outside the home, such as rivers and springs. For PWD, drought means the reduction of the share of water consumption they can use in households, while some of them have limited mobility to the alternative water source. While related to sanitation, people in Kabupaten Manggarai experienced more obstacles due to high rainfall. Pit toilets which are located outside the home are difficult to access by PWD, even with the assistance of their caregivers.


Policy Recommendation at Kabupaten Level 

  • Create the opportunities for women and PWD to engage more actively in strategic activities at the community level;
  • Remove the stigma of male and female domains in development.


Policy recommendations at Community level 

  • Create the opportunities for women and PWD to engage more actively in strategic activities at the community level;
  • Remove the stigma of male and female domains in the development.


Policy recommendation at household and individual level 

  • Increase the confidence of female (women and girls) to take an active role outside the home, through formal education as well as training and mentoring;
  • Socializing and transforming the gender-based division of work in the household; more involving men and boys in domestic tasks in the household so that women and girls can have more opportunities to engage in strategic activities in the community.



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