by Brock Vergakis
When Water.org needed help with a project to get improved latrines in homes in rural Indonesia, one non-governmental organization stood out above the rest.
The global organization founded by actor Matt Damon hired WISE – WASH in Southeast Asia to help create catalogs that homeowners, loan officers, and construction workers could refer to when choosing the best household septic tank systems to protect soil and water from being contaminated from human waste.
WISE had the local knowledge and technical expertise that Water.org needed to produce the catalogs in the local language that the global non-profit organization couldn’t have done with its own limited staff.
“We were looking for a highly organized and professional consultant in Southeast Asia, and were happy to find that WISE delivered on our expectations,” shared Margo Salasyuk, International Programs Manager for Southeast Asia at Water.org. “Overall, we had a really good experience working with the WISE team and would recommend them to other companies.”
Water.org works with microfinance institutions around the world to provide micro loans (up to US$400) to people who want improve their sanitation facilities. About 2.3 billion people around the world live without access to improved sanitation, according to Water.org figures. Without improved sanitation systems, residents are at risk of contracting diseases. Both Water.org and WISE have the same shared goal of improving water sanitation by investing in local communities and getting them to take ownership of their projects.
WISE offers a variety of services to organizations looking for consultants with local knowledge throughout Southeast Asia. In addition to helping to create catalogs, Water.org asked WISE to provide a workshop to its local partners in Indonesia on WASH access and technical aspects of various latrine designs.
Ms. Salasyuk said working with WISE ultimately saved Water.org time and money. Saving money allows Water.org to help more people around the world at a time there’s still a global water crisis, with one in three people around the world lacking access to a toilet.
Water.org and WISE both rely on donations to help improve water sanitation. You can help out by visiting Water.org. WISE also is available for consulting work throughout Southeast Asia.
Brock Vergakis is a journalist who was mobilised through UNV’s Online Volunteering Service to volunteer with WISE. The article was originally written for the January 2018 edition of WISE’s monthly email newsletter.