Rifaid Hasnun joined the SurfAid team as a Program Assistant more than five years ago. Today he leads our newly launched Nusatani program in Bima, Indonesia. The family man and valued SurfAid team member, Rafaid’s made a lasting impact in the remote communities we work in. 

Adzari Ridzki, SurfAid’s Media Officer spoke with Rifaid about the challenges he’s faced and the lessons learned while delivering our programs to families in isolated regions. 

Tell us about your SurfAid story?

I live in the city of Bima with my wife and two children. I’ve changed roles several times since joining the SurfAid family in 2015. My first role was a Program Assistant in the Simbo Program, focused on water and sanitation. I then spent a year-and-a-half as an Agriculture Officer on the Macaha Program. Finally, in February of this year, I took on the role of Program Coordinator in Bima for our new Nusatani program focused on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture. Outside of my regular positions, I’ve often taken on temporary assignments, including the identification of potential land and water resources for Nusatani program prior to its launch.

What motivated you to join the SurfAid team?

I was motivated to join the team at SurfAid as we help those people who needed it most, those in the most remote areas. Our interventions are really needed by the communities, including providing access to water and sanitation, improving integrated health posts (Posyandu) at the village level, and improving livelihood activities. I also like that we promote an accompaniment approach and work directly alongside our communities. We prioritise the value of community participation and get everyone involved in program implementation. Furthermore, SurfAid is an accountable and transparent organisation, one that is trusted by our donors and the public.


What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve found working in remote areas? 

The biggest challenge I’ve faced was launching the Open Defecation Free (ODF) project as part of the Simbo Program. The program’s objectives are commendable but can be difficult to implement in practice. Latrine coverage at the start of the program was low, around 10 – 30% in each village. For the program to be successful we need to have at least 80% ownership or 100% access.

We implemented a strategy to increase cooperation and appoint influential figures in each village to help manage the project. We trained the water committees and Kader’s (community health volunteers) on the importance of clean and healthy living and latrine ownership and use. We facilitated training on how to use squat toilets. 

We worked in cooperation with partners in sub-districts and districts to bring the topic to the local agenda. We facilitated the formation of the Open Defecation Free Acceleration team chaired by the Parado Police Chief. We organised local partners to meet every Friday to feedback on progress and establish common regulations.  The protocol was put in place so that families who refused to use their latrine would get a warning from the ODF Accerlation team or the head of each village. 

Has working with SurfAid’s remote communities had an impact on your outlook on life?

When I took the role at SurfAid as a Program Assistant, I did so as I knew I could make a difference. There are still many people who are much less fortunate than me, and there are people who have capacity but don’t yet have the opportunity to get ahead. They need a hand up. 

I was determined to give my best to SurfAid and to really assist these communities. Besides actively facilitating our community projects, I always try to contribute my knowledge to the management team to ensure the success of our programs. I know a persons impact is independent of his role, his real contribution is seen through the work and the results of the program. 

What lessons have you learned from working at SurfAid?

I’ve learned many life lessons working at SurfAid including upholding honesty, equality, kindness to children, as well as those with special needs. From a professional perspective, I’ve developed a range of skills including nutrition-sensitive agriculture, environmental management, including people with disability, gender and non-discrimination principles, financial skills, logistics and much more. 

Team members like Rafaid are the superheroes behind team SurfAid. Committed every day to deliver positive outcomes in remote communities he makes our lasting impact on the ground possible.