WASH SDG youth partner YSC: trendsetters in the Indonesian sanitation landscape


A quarter of Indonesia’s 260M population is made up of young people between the ages of 16 and 30. Youths – in all their diversity and vibrance – are agents of change for healthier and more resilient and inclusive societies. This is a story about the Youth with Sanitation Concern’s (YSC) COVID-19 response; a partner of SNV’s WASH SDG programme.

Twenty-year-old Wayan Bagus’ winning video clip for YSC’s four days video challenge, Live Hygienically Against Viruses [1] takes his audience to his home in Braja Harjosi Village, East Lampung, Indonesia. On day 4, he puts a spotlight on his father who is feeding the family’s homegrown chickens. Bagus – an Agronomy and Horticulture student at Lampung University asks his dad what he knows about HWWS. In response, his father quips, ’It’s handwashing with soap, right?’ ‘But do you really know the way? asks Bagus. Fast forward, the video ends with Bagus demonstrating proper HWWS to his parents, which they are quick to imitate.

‘My parents are farmers. They know about HWWS but they never really practised it. They seldom washed their hands with soap. Involving my family in the video production taught my parents the value of washing hands properly,’ exclaimed Bagus.

Ghausu Silmi, 23 years of age and a graphic design student at Widyatama University is the competition’s second winner. As a deaf person, he responded to the challenge with a video complemented by sign language and text. He also engaged his eleven-year-old brother as an actor. Ghausu's participation in the competition, he said, helped him internalise proper handwashing practice: ‘I practised so many times prior to filming my video because I wanted to make sure that I was delivering the correct message.' 

Youth group utilises the power of social media to spread life-saving messages

‘The practice of HWWS is not only for COVID-19 prevention – it also safeguards people from contracting infectious diseases. Through the video challenge we hope that our collective actions have increased participants’ and their own families’ awareness about the instrumentality of HWWS practice well beyond this pandemic,’ said Khorik Istiana, Leader of Youth with Sanitation Concern (YSC).

The video challenge was the first in a series of online hygiene campaigns initiated by YSC. Encouraging young people’s leadership and inter-generational participation, the youngest of the competition’s participants was a 14-year old who taught his 6-year-old brother Cuci Tangan Pakai Sabun (CTPS, wash your hands with soap).

Other YSC initiatives include,

  • The once-a-week broadcast of the podcast Ngopi Sanitasi (Sanitation Chat) over a six-week period with a reach of 1,500 listeners. The podcast tackled hygiene behaviour-related issues with speakers representing different professions and walks of life (influencers, travel bloggers, health and government officials, sanitation workers, authors, and YSC members).
  • A webinar titled Menstruation during pandemic, organised during Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Day on 28 May, and attended by more than 170 participants.
  • An HWWS video competition for children (max 13 years of age) in densely populated areas, in collaboration with START Community. The competition is a strategy to raise awareness on the five critical times of handwashing with soap within this age group.

Said Bambang Pujiatmoko, SNV WASH Advisor in Indonesia, ‘YSC activities, especially in social media platforms, are proving that they are becoming a trend setter in sanitation issues among young people.’

YSC hand hygiene awareness campaign organisers

Field visit and exposure to sanitation conditions of communities for youths

About YSC

The Youth Sanitation Concern [2] network was formed in 2018 shortly after the successful events of a Youth Sanitation Camp. Since YSC’s founding, SNV’s WASH SDG programme has been an active mentor and supporter of the network – helping build today and tomorrow’s behaviour change agents.

‘Sanitation is not a hot topic and many people are not interested to talk about it. However, seeing young people dedicate themselves by raising their voice about this issue, I believe that the future is in the right hands.’ excerpted from Maria Carreiro’s speech (WASH sector leader, SNV in Indonesia) during the Declaration of YSC in November 2018

The WASH SDG programme, which applies SNV’s Urban Sanitation and Hygiene for Health and Development (USHHD) approach, accelerates access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene practice in Indonesia. Part of the approach’s strategy is to involve all potential stakeholders, including young people.

By 2030, the productive age group of 15 to 64 years is estimated to reach 64%. [3] Today’s youth will make up a significant proportion of this age group. They will serve as focal players in the country’s development.

Youths are known for their flexibility and tenacity. They have the capacity to bridge present realities with future ones, linking development strategies at local and global levels. SNV is proud to work side-by-side with YSC to contribute in making a ‘healthy and hygienic Indonesia’ possible.

Prepared by: Iffah Rachmi, WASH SDGs Youth Initiative Officer

Photos: SNV in Indonesia

[1] Known in Indonesia as the ‘Hidup Bersih Lawan Virus’ 4 days video challenge, the competition was by YSC with support from the Lampung Provincial Health Office and SNV’s WASH SDG Programme.
[2] Follow YSC social media channels in Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/35OaNFB4qac5ZVssUsUMz0 | Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqEo86OclvGUFrEJ9yHtrpA | Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/ysc_id/ | Twitter: https://twitter.com/ysc_id
[3] Indonesia Youth statistics 2019, National Statistic Biro, 2019.  https://www.bps.go.id/publication/2019/12/20/8250138f59ccebff3fed326a/statistik-pemuda-indonesia-2019.html