Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – Dutch donor group HiVos has joined hands with Indonesian NGOs to launch the Active Citizens Building Solidarity and Resilience in Response to COVID-19 (ACTION) project to support the country's vulnerable and marginalized groups in facing the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
HiVos and five NGOs, namely the Association for the Development of Small Businesses (PUPUK), Center for Indonesia's Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI), youth organization PAMFLET, Disabled Women and Children Advocacy Center (Sapda), and women rights advocacy group Institut KAPAL Perempuan, would carry out the project over the next two years in several regions across the archipelago.
The European Union has granted 2.5 million euro – equivalent to US$2.9 million or Rp 42 billion – to fund the project through its Team Europe program.
"This project is part of the Team Europe approach, in which the EU and EU member states join up to assist Indonesia in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic," EU Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket said during the project launch on Wednesday.
"So far, Team Europe has raised more than 200 million euro to support COVID-19 pandemic response in Indonesia," he said.
Piket went on to say that ACTION would take place in 15 subdistricts and 40 villages across the country's five provinces, namely Jakarta, West Java, Yogyakarta, West Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi.
"It will provide personal protective equipment for health workers, hygiene kits and hand-washing stations, as well as give access to teleconsultation and home visit services for vulnerable and high-risk groups," he said.
ACTION is also set to provide intensive business training for 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and help some 400 farmers improve their products and get better prices.
"In total, this program would benefit around 15,000 poor people in rural and urban areas," Piket said.
HiVos Southeast Asia regional director Biranchi Upadhyaya said the project would be carried out in two phases.
"The first phase will focus on the initial response to the pandemic and the second phase will mitigate its social and economic impacts, especially for vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women, people with disabilities, the elderly, youth, farmers, landless laborers and small-scale producers," he said.
"As the project focuses on rapid response and addresses the social and economic recovery phase, we need to pay close attention to the marginalized and vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic by upholding the principles of gender equality and inclusivity," he further said.
Each local NGO involved in the program would target a specific vulnerable group during the second phase of the project.
CISDI, for example, would reach the target groups from the health sector for economic improvement, while KAPAL Perempuan would focus more on the impact of COVID-19 that touched on gender issues, such as the increase of child marriage and domestic abuse.
PAMFLET would empower the youth for post-pandemic recovery, PUPUK is committed to assisting SMEs in rebuilding and SAPDA is set to assist persons with disabilities in facing the complex challenges caused by the pandemic and provide the necessary support.