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Indonesian faiths act on water, sanitation and hygiene

Pepulih is a Christian association in Indonesia, acting as environmental care observers. It was founded on April 22, coinciding with Earth Day 2004, and is based in Jakarta. It started as a Christian group but in recent years has expanded its outreach to include other faiths, and now has members of different faith communities on its board.

Pepulih offers environmental education to faith groups in Indonesia, working with communities to raise environmental awareness, and support the following programmes: Green Culture for Green Water, Green Energy, Green Waste, Green Planting, Green Building, Green Village and Green Schools.

Central to Pepulih’s work is the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene – or WASH – programmes. It organises School for Water Days where childcare professionals and teachers learn to make water and hygiene issues integral to their thinking. Among those taking taken up WASH programmes are Sunday schools and schools in the slum areas of Jakarta.

Children in Indonesian schools are learning about the importance of WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – thanks to Christian environmental group Pepiluh Picture: FaithInWater

With UK charity FaithInWater and the Catholic Diocese of Jakarta, a toolkit was developed on a Christian approach to WASH which was translated into Bahasa Indonesia.

The approach soon snowballed: in September 2016 training was delivered to 20 people including priests, head teachers of Catholic schools as well as representatives from Catholic orphanages, the Diocesan Justice & Peace Commission, Catholic women’s organisations and Franciscans in Indonesia.

Knowledge passed on in a snowball effect This was the first time they had considered practical action on water and cleanliness as an expression of their faith beliefs, and their response was immediately positive. It's also an example of how an initiative can snowball.

The initial party of 20 then became trainers for others. Pepulih delivered another workshop to 48 participants from a wide range of groups, from leaders of parishes and women's groups, student representatives and teachers. Participants also came from different provinces – Java, West Java, East Java and East Nusa Tenggara. The group pledged to share what they'd learned with a further 2,000 people. Since then Pepulih has held several workshops with other groups, including workshops for 100 street children; 35 children living around the main Jakarta railway station; and 30 people with learning disabilities.

Teachers and other childcare professionals are trained by Pepulih to pass on health and environmental messages – including the importance of WASH: Water, sanitation and hygiene Picture: FaithInWater


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