Financial, institutional, environmental, technical, and social (FIETS) aspects of water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions in indigenous - rural Indonesia

D. Daniel, Dennis Djohan, Ilias Machairas, Saket Pande, Arifin Arifin, Trimo Pamudji Al Djono , Luuk Rietveld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Background: There is increasing recognition of the complexity underlying WASH conditions in developing countries. This article explores the complexity by assessing the vulnerability of a specific area to poor WASH conditions using a qualitative approach. Methods: We present our findings for the district of East Sumba in Indonesia. This area is known as one of the poorest regions in Indonesia with inadequate WASH services, indigenous belief that hinder the practice of WASH-related behaviours, and has a high rate of children malnutrition. All the factors that contribute to poor WASH conditions were discussed through the lens of the Financial, Institutional, Environmental, Technological, and Social (FIETS) framework. We then summarised the factors and visualized the “system” using a mind map which shows how factors are interconnected and helps to find the root causes of poor WASH conditions. Results: There are three main challenges that inhibit the improvement of WASH conditions in this area: inadequate institutional capacity, water scarcity, and poor socio-economic conditions. We found that a village leader is the most important actor who influences the sustainability of WASH services in this area and healthcare workers are influential WASH promoters. This study also shows how culture shapes people’s daily lives and institution performance, and influences the current WASH conditions in East Sumba. The mind map shows there is an overlap and interconnection between FIEST aspects and WASH conditions in the study area. Conclusion: WASH conditions are influenced by many factors and are often interconnected with each other. Understanding this complexity is necessary to improve WASH conditions and sustain adequate WASH services in developing countries. Finally, WASH interventions have to be considerate of the prevailing cultural practices and should involve multidisciplinary stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1723
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Culture
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Sanitation
  • Sustainability
  • Water supply
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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