Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2004


This profile was prepared when Hamzah Harun Al'Rasyid was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Hamzah targets the problem of sustainable sanitation in Indonesia’s poor urban neighborhoods by founding citizen organizations to establish toilet and washing facilities, and maintaining service fees that poor residents can easily afford. His organizations put neighborhood representatives in charge of assessing their own needs and devising their own solutions; the facilities themselves are professionally designed and managed to guarantee their environmental safety. Because management and maintenance costs are covered by user fees, this system is sustainable over the long term and it creates new jobs.
Many people see slum dwellers as people to be pitied; Hamzah sees them as people with potential. His plan positions them as paying customers who deserve quality service. Because these new facilities are clean and attractive, people feel pride in using them and adopt healthier personal habits as a result. Hamzah trains residents to communicate their requests and complaints to his organizations as a first step toward getting involved in the revitalization of their communities.
As the migrant population in Indonesian cities increases, the nation’s civic leaders have increasingly pledged their support to a decade of urban reform. Hamzah’s plan taps into the momentum of these pledges to ensure the spread of his methods throughout the country. Currently, he is approaching municipal governments that have budgeted funds for service provision, many of whom are anxious to find the kind of proven solution that Hamzah has created.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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