Story from the field: Bring Their Smile Back

Field Storyon August 29, 2021

Various disasters that have occurred often in Indonesia in recent years have familiarized us with the phrase humanitarian worker. Those who work in crisis management were previously referred to as volunteers, activists, or staff of humanitarian organizations; however, we now refer to them as humanitarian workers. Humanitarian workers aren’t just a job; they’re part of humanitarian aid itself.

Bernandus Thusi Bonandito, also known as Pak Thusi, has been a humanitarian worker for the past 20 years. Mr. Thusi has aided several Indonesian districts as a humanitarian worker. One of his objectives for reaching out to more individuals in need is to “bring their smile back”

Currently he is one of the RedR Indonesia deployment roster for UNDP RESTORE (Response Toward Resilience) program in Gorontalo, Sulawesi. COVID-19 heavily impacts the economy of Indonesia. While the scope of the damage is difficult to fully anticipate at this point and while the Government is making efforts to cushion the impact, COVID-19 is a risk to the macro-stability of the Indonesian economy that has been achieved and to trade.

In the case of Indonesia, the epidemic will also do heavy damage to sectors such as tourism and other services, which are highly exposed to crisis and at the same time providing a significant share of national revenue and employments. The economic and social impact of COVID 19 will therefore be heavy, multi-sectoral and while having immediate effects, it will also span over a medium to long period of time. UNDP’s response to COVID- 19 is organized in 4 main streams:

  1. Immediate strengthening of health systems and health governance and building of their longer-term resilience.
  2. Direct support to an inclusive and “whole of society” response for prevention and mitigation at central and local levels.
  3. Addressing the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 to protect the Indonesian people and safeguard progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
  4. Utilizing digital solutions and big data analysis for enhanced national response.

The provincial government also provides general support for the RESTORE program’s execution and monitoring, as well as technical help, such as aid to provincial authorities in implementing JituPasna (Post-Disaster Needs Assessment – PDNA) and drafting recovery plans.

Examples of some practice activities that Mr. Thusi coordinates in the RESTORE program are GUYUB; socialization and education on COVID-19 prevention through religious facilities, SIP (sustainable infrastructure partnership) as an integrated approach for planning and sustainable infrastructure development, especially for regional UMKM, PDNA (post disaster needs assessment) in the COVID-19 situation. Despite the fact that PDNA is normally done after a disaster, Mr. Thusi stressed the importance of assessing disaster losses and developing a recovery strategy right away. These findings must also be examined on a regular basis to see if they are applicable to new varieties that emerge.

“In disaster management, coordination and cooperation are critical,” Mr. Thusi remarked. Both between government departments and organizations, as well as within the community. Each agency has its own recovery program, which must be coordinated and implemented in the Post-Disaster Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan (R3P). Any institution or agency that isn’t well-coordinated in disaster management risks overlapping, which can lead to sectoral egos forming.

Humanitarian workers are frequently involved in the implementation of inter-sectoral coordination and cooperation. Humanitarian workers are not just a vocation, but also a means of bringing together and involving multiple parties in disaster relief efforts. Mr. Thusi’s message to those who are inspired to enter the world of humanity is that everyone can play their part. Let’s start with what we have.

RedR Indonesia is also committed to supporting disaster management sector coordination and cooperation, one of which is through membership in Forum Pengurangan Risiko Bencana Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (FPRB DIY).

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