A Story of Wheny Susianti: the Handwashing Warrior from Mojo Urban Village, Indonesia
The blog was originally published on iuwashplus.
The sun was blazing and the road was covered with dust on that afternoon. This extreme hot weather did not stop Wheny Susianti, who is often called as Wheny, to visit a warehouse of used materials located 300 meters from her house in RT01/RW03 in Mojo urban village, Surakarta city.
At the warehouse, Wheny picked some used paint buckets with size of 18kg each without hesitation because she had obtained permission from the warehouse owner. Wheny has made up her mind to use the paint buckets to make handwashing with soap facilities for her neighbors.
Wheny had the idea of making the handwashing with soap facilities when seeing some of her neighbors have not yet developed habits to wash their hands with soap. “Handwashing with soap is crucial to stop diseases transmission, such as Covid-19,” Wheny shared her knowledge. Wheny learned the importance of handwashing with soap when participating in the clean and healthy behavior education activities run by the puskesmas with assistance from USAID IUWASH PLUS.
Not only does she attend the education events, Wheny has also been very active in promoting the hygiene practices to the community. This promotion is part of her task as a caretaker of KSM Mojo—a community based group supported by USAID IUWASH PLUS to help improvements on the water and sanitation access.
Wheny’s idea to make handwashing with soap facilities is supported by her husband, Ariyanto, and the Chief of RT01/Rw03, Titik Nurkayati. “I fully support Wheny’s idea to make handwashing with soap facilities for community, including using the RT saving to buy water taps and soaps, because it is for the people’s interest,” said Titik Nurkayati.
Mid-March 2020, Wheny together with her husband and the Chief of RT01 spent their leisure to make eight handwashing with soap facilities from used paint buckets. Besides, Wheny and Titik Nurkayati introduced the handwashing with soap facilities to community members as well as taught them on how to wash their hands properly in suggested critical times.
This initiative received warm responses from community members. Even, the people who received the facilities agreed to pay back the RT saving to buy water taps and soaps in installment.
When Good Initiative Spreads Widely
Following Wheny’s footprint, some people in RT01/RW03 made handwashing with soap facilities independently. Until mid-April 2020, there were 43 handwashing with soap facilities built by community members. In addition to the community in RT01, the caretakers of some KSMs and the participatory M&E teams also made the handwashing with soap facilities after listening to Wheny’s story.
“I hope more there will be more people motivated to practice clean and healthy behavior,” Wheny ended her story.
Contributor Edy Triyanto