UMCOR Continues to Bring Health and Hope to Indonesia
January 29, 2010—More than five years after devastating tsunamis destroyed homes, livelihoods and lives in Indonesia, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Indonesia office continues to partner with communities to create sustainable stability. Today the office marked the completion of construction of its Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in 13 Schools in Aceh Province project, with a ceremony in SDN Lampanah, Indonesia, to formally hand the project over to local communities. Today’s celebration aimed to deepen awareness among the communities of the project’s significant and lasting impact on one of the most pressing global health challenges of our time: water and sanitation.
Part of the broader UMCOR Reconstruction and Development in Aceh and Nias (RADAN) project in Indonesia, WASH advanced safe, affordable water and sanitation solutions for primary schools and sought to inspire positive hygiene behavior change among students, teachers, and their families through sustainable and scalable methods. WASH now benefits 2,277 schoolchildren and 277 teachers throughout Aceh Besar and Bireuen Districts.
The handover event, which was organized by UMCOR Indonesia, was attended by local education officials and representatives of the six schools participating in the WASH project in Aceh Besar District and seven schools in Bireuen District. Throughout the project, UMCOR worked closely with Aceh Besar and Bireuen Departments of Education and Health, among other stakeholders in the sector.
Improving Health Practices in Schools
The goal of UMCOR’s WASH project was to improve the overall health of the school population through rehabilitation of water sanitation and hygiene facilities. The project also promoted positive hygiene behavior, seeking to change specific practices that contribute to diarrheal diseases and lung infections among schoolchildren. This was achieved through:
Construction of improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in the 13 schools,
Hygiene education, training, and monitoring for 2,277 schoolchildren and 277 teachers
Establishing WASH school committees to address immediate and long-term sustainability concerns for clean water, sanitation and hygiene in each project school
The above were planned and achieved with the cooperation and support of district education offices, school management, parents and communities. This collaboration will allow the project to continue to benefit schoolchildren long after completion of the construction of facilities and training of children and teachers.
UMCOR is a not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization based in New York City. It currently serves in more than 80 countries. The organization established its NGO field offices in Indonesia following the December 2004 tsunami, with the aim to provide both immediate and long-term relief from that natural disaster and the 30-year civil conflict that preceded it.
In much the same way, UMCOR is responding today to the recent earthquake in Haiti, providing both short-term care and long-term reconstruction aid.
Country operations in Indonesia are based in Banda Aceh, with offices in Bireuen and Medan.