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PRESS RELEASE: Indonesian Muslim women unite for availability of water, sanitation and environmental health

February 18, 2015:

People living in Jakarta's slum communities use whatever source of water they can find, including canals


Twenty-nine Muslim women’s organizations from all around Indonesia today launched a new network dedicated to bringing clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene education to everyone.

The network is titled Indonesian Women for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, or IWWASH.

“IWWASH was formed to link Indonesian Muslim women, so that together we can lead the drive to bring clean water, adequate toilets and water education into all communities, based on the teachings of Islam about sharing and about water,” said Ms Husmiaty Hasyim, Chairwomen of Headquarter Persatuan Ummat Islam (PUI), in representing the network.

It is an initiative by the Universitas Nasional (UNAS) supported by the international Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) based in the UK and the Dutch philanthropic fund, Valley Foundation.

“Indonesia is a big country with the largest Muslim population in the world,” said conservationist Dr. Fachruddin Mangunjaya Vice Chairman UNAS Centre for Islamic Studies who has been supporting the initiative from the beginning through ARC and the Universitas Nasional. “Indonesia has an important role in the frontline to show how life can be better; and to save lives through clean water.”

Like most countries around the world, Indonesia is facing extreme challenges of development, and both secular and Muslim leaders have emphasized the importance of empowering people in managing the huge problem of clean water, sanitation and environmental health.

This initiative is stronger because it goes through Islamic teachings and practice: the Qu’ran is very explicit about the importance, and beauty, of clean water.

The initiative has caught the imagination of many groups already. In September, 16 women's organizations committed to establishing this network, but by the time of the launch today, two months later, there were 22.

The Qu’ran is very explicit about the importance, and beauty, of clean water
In her speech, the Minister of Health Prof. Dr Dr. Nila F. Moeloek, said that a study conducted over the past few decades proves a strong positive relationship between women's participation at the program level and the success and sustainability of water and sanitation management . Various global and international meetings had already recognised the importance of women's participation and leadership in the management of water and sanitation, she said.

The IWWASH network is in line with achieving the Universal Access Water and Sanitation 2019 national targets to have drinking water and sanitation for all (100%) of Indonesian people by 2019. This is part of the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2015-2019) .

Representatives of the Minister of Health also opened a seminar titled "Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health in the Islamic Perspective."

National and international figures were present, including Dr. Didin Hafidhuddin, chairman of BAZNAS, a government-supported charitable organisation that collects zakat from Muslims to help the needy and small business owners across Indonesia. Zakat means “grow in goodness” and Muslims consider the act of giving zakat as a way of giving thanks to God for any material well-being you have acquired.

Also present at the launch was Dr Husna Ahmad from the UK, representing ARC. Dr Ahmad has worked on innovative Muslim women and water programmes around the world. She talked about her experience in water, sanitation and hygiene innovation in several other countries, including Bangladesh.

"We want to help establish an ethos of hospitality in sharing water and hygiene knowledge,” said Professor Ernawati Sinaga, Vice Rector for Research, Community Service and Collaboration Universitas Nasional, who was also one of the key initiators of the symposium and network.

“These initiatives are happening anyway, but we hope that by bringing them together in a network, these Muslim women leaders will be empowered through new friendships and alliances – and knowing they are not alone – to do even more."

"Hopefully, through this network, there will be a synergy and spirit of Muslim women to move in the field of public education and cultivation of Islamic values, especially in water conservation, sanitation and environmental health.

“Islam teaches good environmental care," Professor Sinaga added.


• Universitas Nasional Public Relation (PR) Manager Dian Metha / Wiend Sakti ( +6281584366610

• Universitas Nasional, Pusat Pengajian Islam, Fachruddin Mangunjaya ( +628129733393

• ARC: communications director, Victoria Finlay ( +44 1225 758004

Website for more information


Notes for editors on WASH

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, also known as WASH, is a global program that is implemented by world agencies like the UN and countries around the world, including Indonesia. It is associated with the achievement of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). Indonesia’s vision for 2015 is to achieve more than 68% of its drinking water requirements, and for more than 62% of people to have adequate sanitation. The aim is for 100% of Indonesian people to enjoy the services of drinking water and sanitation. IWWASH is already helping to link communities and to encourage and support government programs on this issue.

Notes for editors on Islam and Water

It is surprising that Islamic teachings are not being used more widely to promote water conservation as they offer a basis for teaching people about conservation and a motivation for them to stick with it.” (Water Conservation Training Manual, 2012, by Islamic NGO, Global One)

There are many references in the Qur’an to the significance of water, notably the instructions for ritual cleansing before performing daily prayers:

O, you who believe, when you intend to offer the prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to [and including] the elbows, wipe [your wet hand] over your head and wash your feet up to [and including] the ankles (Qur'an 5:6)

Islam and water: greening the Hajj

Another important teaching comes from the story of Hajjar (r.a.), wife of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh), whose faith was rewarded when an angel made water appear in the desert at Zam-Zam. This story is celebrated by pilgrims on the Hajj to Maccah when they walk between the mountains of Safa and Marwa.

As part of the Green Pilgrimage Network a Greening the Hajj initiative has been developed which has produced Islam and Water - the Hajjar story and guide. The book is accompanied by a short animated film which makes the story (and its environmental significance) accessible to younger children.

IWWASH Indonesian Women for Water Sanitation and Hygiene

Established in 16 September 2014 in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta, IWWASH started as a network of 16 organisations committing to establish a network of Muslim women’s organization with the shared vision of improving WASH throughout the country based on Islamic teaching. For more details please refer to the IWWASH website.

The following are the network members up to 17 February 2015:

1. PP Muslimat NU
2. PP Wanita Islam
3. LPPM Universitas Nasional
4. Universitas Al Azhar Indonesia
5. Muslimat Center Dewan Da’wah Islamiah Indonesia
6. Persaudaraan Muslimah (SALIMAH)
7. PP Persistri (Persatuan Islam Istri)
8. PP Muslimat Dewan Da’wah (MDDII) v 9. Baitul Mal Wattamwil (BMT) Bumi
10. Wanita Persatuan Umat Islam (PUI)
11. ISWI (Ikatan Sarjana Wanita Indonesia)
12. Yayasan Cikal Madani
13. Pusat Pengembangan Sumberdaya Wanita (PPSW)
14. LPPM Institute Sains Teknologi Al-Kamal
15. PKK Pasar Minggu, Jakarta Selatan
16. PKK Kelurahan Rawajati-(Kampung Agro Wisata Rawajati)
17. PKK Jatipadang
18. PKK Kel. Tanah Baru Kec. Pancoran Mas Depok
19. LPPM Universitas Pancasila
20. LPPM Institute Sains & Teknologi Nasional (ISTN)
21. LBBC Universitas Trisakti
22. PM Daarul Ulum Lido
23. P3M Politeknik Negeri Jakarta
24. IAIA Al Quroba
25. STID M Natsir
27. Islamic Centre Attaufiq
28. DeTARAA Foundation
29. Korpus PPI Wati


National University, or UNAS, is Jakarta's oldest university, and the second oldest in Indonesia. It was founded in 1949 on the initiative of leading figures in the independence movement. UNAS quickly came to the forefront of the Independence Movement.Today UNAS has nine faculties with 35 courses. Many research activities and community service initiatives have been carried out by the National University academic community, in the socio-political and cultural fields as well as in science and technology. UNAS website

Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC)

ARC is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes (based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices) and link with key secular conservation groups. It was founded in 1995 by HRH Prince Philip. ARCworld website

The Valley Foundation

The Valley Foundation was set up in 2009 with the vision that good sanitation practices and clean drinking water are the essentials of healthy life. It funds projects to make this happen more often. Valley Foundation website

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