Californian businessman and surfer, Sean Nevett, has pledged US$75,000 to SurfAid International for their Water and Sanitation (Watsan) project in Nias, off the coast of North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Nevett, a share trader from Encinitas, where SurfAid has its USA office, has been a long-time supporter of the non-profit organisation and he has now donated approximately US$150,000 to its health programs.
SurfAid CEO Dr Dave Jenkins, who was recently awarded the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) inaugural Humanitarian of the Year, has been in California fundraising for the Nias Watsan project.
“This is a very generous contribution from Sean and sets us well on the way to raising the US$305,000 we need to implement this project which will affect the quality of life for more than 10,000 people – so for less than US$30 per person we can help save lives,” Dr Jenkins said.
The March 2005 earthquake that measured 8.7 on the Richter scale seriously affected Nias water supplies. In conjunction with UNICEF and NZAID, SurfAid recently completed 99 Watsan facilities in 26 villages in Sirombu and Teluk Dalam sub-districts, including new water tanks, tapped spring water systems, new and reconditioned wells, rainwater harvesting systems and two separate types of latrines.
“Our research shows that another 104 facilities are urgently needed in another eight villages where 10,435 people live,” Dr Jenkins said. “In Afulu and Alasa sub-districts, the diarrhoea rates are 35 per cent and 45 per cent respectively while the Indonesian national average, using the same measurement criteria, is 11 per cent. Diarrhoea is a big contributing factor to the under-five-year-old child death rate in Nias of 66 per 1,000 live births.”
Dr Jenkins said that work undertaken by SurfAid’s Community Based Health Program shows that there is a strong relationship between diarrhoea, hygiene, local sanitation facilities and the availability of a reliable source of clean water.
He added that the Watsan project will provide much more than just clean water to communities. “There will be a focus on community participation and ownership that has been a successful model for ensuring the long-term maintenance of the facilities. Community Led Total Sanitation is a proven model for encouraging communities to take responsibility for their own hygiene practices and it will be used extensively in this project.”