Community association facilitates surge in demand for toilets in rural Lampung


It is often the case that the work of Jamban Sewu Community Association is mentioned whenever the sanitation success of Pringsewu district in the Lampung province of Indonesia is discussed. After all, with support from the association, the district was successful in ending open defecation in a little over two years.

Paguyuban Jamban Sewu, which translates to Thousand Toilets Association, is a community-based association of individuals and entrepreneurs who are passionate about sanitation. The association was established in 2015, with the support of the SNV Indonesia project “Supporting STBM in Lampung Province” [1]. Its raison d'être is to help realise a healthier public, and improve sanitation conditions by manufacturing affordable toilets and septic tanks, and providing installation services.

“We want to change people’s behaviour to live a healthier life,” said Bambang Pujiatmoko, SNV WASH project officer. “By showing the communities how important it is for families to have their own toilets.”

Association trains members to make their own toilets

Association trains members to make their own toilets

Today, the association continues to be mentored by SNV’s local civil society organisation partner, Yayasan Konservasi Way Seputih (YKWS).

STBM implementation in Lampung

At the start of the STBM project, BPS 2010 figures recorded Lampung province’s sanitation coverage rate at 35%, a few points below the national average of 38.5% for rural areas (MoH, 2010). In 2011, BKBN Lampung (2011) found that 34% of Lampung’s 7.6 million inhabitants fell within the range of the ‘poorest of the poor.’

With SNV’s assistance, members of the association received training on sanitation product development and diversification (using locally-sourced materials), facility construction and maintenance, and development of marketing and business plans.

Awareness raising and demand triggering efforts conducted by local authorities and religious leaders took place parallel to the trainings, thereby increasing community demand for improved sanitation facilities.

Different capacities to pay, different arrangements

Pak Suparlan, sanitation entrepreneur and chairperson of the Jamban Sewu Association knew that to grow the number of households with a toilet, affordability was as important as durability and reliability. The association successfully found ways to lower the cost of existing sanitation products, while offering a more varied set of options to meet people’s specific needs and preferences. Overall costs decreased by 36%, the cost of a simple water closet fell by 30%, and the cost of toilets with a one-chamber septic tank was almost halved (at 43%).

Pak Suparlan shares BCC poster on clean, safe and comfortable toilets

Pak Suparlan shares BCC poster on clean, safe and comfortable toilets

For community members who still found the price tag of a toilet beyond their reach, the association offered loans for payment by instalment for a period of six months.

There too were those interested in constructing their own sanitation facilities. For this group of ‘self-builders’, the Jamban Sewu association saw to it that they received appropriate technical training. Follow up supervision and quality control support were also extended to prevent toilets from collapsing and septic tanks from leaking.

Grow, grow, grow: scaling up sanitation and health improvements

Today, the association offers sanitation services and produces toilets, septic tanks, and other sanitation products for thousands of families in more than 130 villages in Pringsewu. A healthy margin for their sustainability and growth has been established through market expansion and the aggregation of delivery and construction costs.

Demand for sanitation facilities has surged, and the association is now starting to take steps to take their sanitation business to scale.

Next up, the neighbouring districts of Waykanan, Tanggamus, and Pesawaran!


[1] Supporting STBM in Lampung Province is an SNV project that ran for three (3) years from 2014-2017. With funding from the Netherlands Embassy in Indonesia, the project assisted the local governments of Lampung Selatan, Pringsewu and Tanggamus in rolling out the national government’s Community-led Total Sanitation programme (Sanitasi Total Berbasis Masyarakat [STBM)])