Over 30,000 people in Indonesia now have access to clean water after the end of the Cooperative Water and Sanitation for Health (CoopWASH) project, which NCBA CLUSA implemented in partnership with the Starbucks Foundation.
The three-year CoopWASH project installed more than 60 gravity-fed and deep-well water systems that are now providing new sources of water for 80 percent of community members and have helped reduce the workload of women and girls by 75 percent in the Aceh and North Sumatra provinces.
Despite an abundance of surface and ground water in the Sumatran highlands, close to half of the population accesses drinking water from unsafe sources, resulting in a high prevalence of waterborne diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera. According to the government’s Ministry of Health, some 30 percent of Indonesians suffer from waterborne disease every year. The shortage of safe water also impacts women and girls, who are often tasked to collect and carry water long distances from local streams.
With our local implementation partners the Koperasi Baitul Qiradh Baburrayyan Cooperative (KBQB) and Sumatra Specialty Coffee, these water systems have provided taps for clean drinking water, as well as restrooms and spaces for bathing and washing clothes. Beyond access to clean water, this has improved hygiene and sanitation in the communities, lowering risk for waterborne illnesses.
To embed sustainability into the project, NCBA CLUSA supported the development of village water management committees and provided community education on good water use and hygiene practices. Water projects often fail because communities are technically or financially unequipped to maintain complex infrastructure, but with the support of the local cooperatives and community-led teams—detailed in a community water management plan—ongoing maintenance is built into the sustainability of the system.
Every system was supported by a locally run water management committee to organize labor for construction and maintenance for the system. All 63 systems continue to operate and some are even expanding their distribution networking to new households, schools and clinics based on the coordination and priorities of the community. Each system serves as a hub for clean water in the center of a village, reaching an average of 450 families.
CoopWASH increased the amount of household water available for drinking, cooking, hand- and dishwashing, sanitation and coffee pulping. Lack of accessible, clean water also compromises coffee quality in Indonesia. Much of the coffee grown in Sumatra is pulped at the village level and sold in a “wet hulled” state. Farmers who don’t have access to clean water recycle the water they need for pulping, leading to bacterial contamination of the hulled coffee and off-flavors. Coffee washed with clean water improves the quality of the coffee and ultimately the income level of local coffee farmers and co-op members. This coffee is then sold through the project partner co-ops to Starbucks.
Starbucks commitment to ethical sourcing
This grant by the Starbucks Foundation was made possible by Starbucks corporation as part of its comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing. Over the past 40 years, Starbucks has been dedicated to helping improve the lives of farmers and their families around the world who grow their coffee. Through a comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, Starbucks is paying equitable prices, providing access to farmer loans and technical assistance to help farmers navigate the complexities of agriculture—a long-term process. In total, Starbucks has invested more than $100 million in supporting coffee communities.
About NCBA CLUSA’s work in Indonesia
NCBA CLUSA has been active in Southeast Asia since 1976, when the organization opened an office in Indonesia at the request of the country’s president and the Indonesian cooperative movement. Since then, NCBA CLUSA has used cooperatives to drive job creation and an increase in producer income, market viability and sales. Between 2005 and 2010, NCBA CLUSA helped rehabilitate thousands of farms destroyed by the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami. NCBA CLUSA, Cooperative Business International (CBI), the Baitul Qiradh Baburrayyan Cooperative (KBQB) and the cohort’s coffee customers, among them Starbucks, also rebuilt dozens of rural water collection and distribution systems after the earthquake. We currently partner with USAID on the Feed the Future Sustainable Cooperative Agribusiness Alliance project, training 5,000 co-op farmers and connecting them to sustainable international markets, improving incomes and livelihoods.