Building Resilience: ASB Launches Seger Waras Initiative

The Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) recognises that its areas of operation are at high risk from climate change and extreme weather events. In general, Indonesia often experiences sudden and extreme weather and climate changes, leading to high risks of hydro-meteorological disasters such as droughts, floods and landslides.

In Magelang Regency, for example, the intensity of floods, landslides and strong winds has increased. In December 2023, the Local Government of Magelang Regency declared a state of emergency due to hydro-meteorological disasters. Other areas, such as Gunungkidul Regency, have also seen an increase in droughts. Since 1 July 2023, the Gunungkidul Regency government has declared a state of emergency due to drought-related hydro-meteorological disasters.

In both areas, the majority of households depend on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods. These livelihoods are highly vulnerable to hydro-meteorological risks. In addition to livelihoods, ensuring access to safe and adequate drinking water and sanitation is critical given the community’s perceived risks from disasters and climate change.

In response to these challenges, ASB will implement the programme “Strengthening Local Capacity for Accessible and Safe Drinking-Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Promoting Environmentally Friendly Humanitarian Responses” (Seger Waras Programme) from 2024 to 2026. This programme was officially launched with the organisation of the “Kick-off Meeting for the Seger Waras Programme at the National Level” on Thursday, 2 May 2024 in Yogyakarta.

This event was inaugurated by Etty Kumolowati (Staff Advisor to the Governor of Yogyakarta Special Region for Social, Cultural, and Community Affairs), representing the Regional Secretary of the Yogyakarta Special Region Government. In her speech on behalf of the Regional Secretary, Etty expressed appreciation for ASB’s past and future work in the Seger Waras programme.

“I represent the Yogyakarta Special Region Government, conveying appreciation to ASB, which has been working since 2006, faithfully maintaining the commitment to work together with the government and society to realize a better Indonesia. Specifically, I extend thanks and appreciation because Gunung Kidul Regency has become one of the targets of the Seger Waras Programme.”

Furthermore, during the opening ceremony, Chrysant Lily Kusumowardoyo, the Country Director of ASB Indonesia and the Philippines, also expressed her hopes to all stakeholders present to continuously support the Seger Waras Programme.

“I would like to convey a special request. I appeal to all of you to be willing to contribute expertise, insights, and enthusiasm to support our efforts through this Seger Waras programme, whether through the Steering Committee that we will discuss or other platforms.”

Active participation from various parties is emphasized because, according to Lily, collaboration is the most important aspect in achieving resilient community goals.

“Seger Waras, a programme that integrates various sectors to achieve holistic resilience. From WASH, anticipatory actions, disaster preparedness, social inclusion, humanitarian response, to climate action. Our hope is that Seger Waras can work across sectors for community resilience. However, to realize these lofty dreams, more than just high aspirations are needed; it also requires joint efforts, strong commitment, and most importantly, collaboration,” Lily added.

The Seger Waras Programme will be implemented in 2 villages in Gunungkidul Regency, namely Ngalang and Girisuko in the Gedangsari Sub-district, and 2 villages in Magelang Regency, namely Ngadiharjo and Giritengah in the Borobudur Sub-district. The selection of these two areas is based on the intensity of the impact of hydrometeorological disasters and climate change.

In general, the Seger Waras programme aims to enhance the capacity of high-risk community groups related to inclusive and climate-sensitive WASH. Seger Waras also aims to prepare, anticipate, and proactively provide humanitarian services in response to hydrometeorological disasters. To achieve these goals, Seger Waras has 4 main activities: Climate-Sensitive WASH Services, Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Response, Environmentally Friendly Humanitarian Response, and Knowledge Management.

The hybrid Kick-Off Meeting was attended by representatives from national-level ministries and agencies, including Asril, Assistant Deputy for Disaster Mitigation and Social Conflict, Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture; Rico Eric Estrada, Representative of the Head of the Center for Facilitating Cooperation, Ministry of Home Affairs; Pangarso Suryotomo, Director of Preparedness, National Disaster Management Agency; Ira Hayatunnisma, Deputy Director for Facilitating Village Financial Management, Directorate General of Village Development, Ministry of Home Affairs; and Laisa Wahanudin, Coordinator of Sanitation/Chair of the WASH Network, Ministry of National Development Planning.

Additionally, provincial-level representatives attended, including Mardiyana, Head of the Village Government Office, Ministry of Home Affairs in Yogyakarta; Etty Kumolowati, Representative of the Regional Secretary of the Yogyakarta Special Region Government; representatives from all Regional Offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Yogyakarta Special Region and Central Java Province.

Representatives from district-level governments included representatives from the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs in Gunungkidul and Magelang Regencies. Furthermore, representatives from the sub-district and village levels also attended, including representatives from the ASB-assisted villages of Ngadiharjo, Giritengah, Borobudur Sub-district for Magelang Regency, and Ngalang, Gedangsari Sub-district, and Girisuko, Panggang Sub-district for Gunungkidul Regency.

The Kick-Off Meeting also included representatives from Disability Organizations, Anticipatory Action Working Groups, WASH Working Groups, and partner NGOs such as Plan Indonesia Foundation, Caritas Germany, and Mercy Corps Indonesia.

Seger Waras is part of the ECT WASH (Environmental Sound and Climate Resilient Transformation of Humanitarian WASH) programme implemented globally in 14 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa, through joint implementation by Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), arche noVa (AN), and German Toilet Organization (GTO), funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO).

Salam Tangguh!

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