Monday, 24 November 2014

UNICEF Indonesia launches Tinju Tinja Campaign to knock out open defecation

Melanie Subono and Aidan Cronin launches the Tinju Tinja campaign in Jakarta during World Toilet Day (19/11/2014)

JAKARTA 24 November 2014 – UNICEF Indonesia, and local rock star and humanitarian activist Melanie Subono are taking the fight against open defecation to the boxing ring through a multi-media campaign called Tinju Tinja (“Punch the Poo”), launched on World Toilet Day.

Largely conducted on social media, this campaign aims to inform and raise awareness about the health implications of such practice, as well as creating a sense of urgency to end open defecation in Indonesia in a new, innovative way. 

During the launch UNICEF revealed that, based on the Joint Monitoring Program report (2014), published by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), 55 million people in Indonesia practice open defecation, making it the second highest number in the world after India.

Open defecation is linked to many preventable yet potentially deadly diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia – chief contributors to more than 370 under-five deaths per day in this country.  

Although progress is being made through on-ground efforts conducted by UNICEF and the Government of Indonesia, there is a strong need for active participation by the public at large. 

“The task is to create noise that makes the nation sit up, take notice of open defecation and join the efforts to make Indonesia “Tinja-free”, said Dr. Aidan Cronin, Chief of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program, UNICEF Indonesia.

Building up to the launch

Tinju Tinja campaign introduces a villain named Ninja Tinja (“Poo Ninja”), who announced his threat to hurt all Indonesian children through an unbranded, anonymous YouTube video released one week before World Toilet Day.

The video triggered curiosity and online conversations, resulting in a suspenseful social media build up before the full campaign was revealed. 

At the same time, Melanie Subono separately announced that she was interested to take up boxing for fitness and self-defense. She enrolled in real boxing classes and invited local media to observe her training, netting in quite a few lifestyle / health media coverage in the process.

She also made frequent posts about her new sporting passion and about sanitation issues in Indonesia to her more than 600,000 followers using the hashtags #tinju and #tinja – which eventually merged as #TinjuTinja when she announced that she will challenge Ninja Tinja

The main video piece shows her getting cornered in a boxing match against Ninja Tinja, and calling for support from all Indonesians to help her fight by visiting  

Raising online awareness

Globally, some 1.9 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation since 1990. However, progress has not kept up with population growth and the Millennium Development Goals target on sanitation is unlikely to be reached by 2015 at current rates of progress.  Eighty-two per cent of the 1 billion people practising open defecation live in just 10 countries, including Indonesia. 

Although more prevalent in rural areas, open defecation also happens in urban cities. The latest Joint Monitoring Program report estimates that 18 million urban populations in Indonesia still defecate in the open.  

“Open defecation affects not only those who don’t have a toilet, but also those who do, as anyone can get ill from excreta in the environment,” stated Aidan.

Tinju Tinja is an on-going campaign, with consistent updates of new content and knowledge that will hopefully educate and convince people to be part of the solution. 

“The fight to eliminate open defecation, as well as to campaign for a healthy lifestyle for all, needs active participation by the public, especially young people who create trends and influence decision makers,” Melanie said.

Have you done your part yet?