COVID-19 impact on the most vulnerable communities in Indonesia

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Abstract

While Indonesian social protection policy has become increasingly mature, disaster and crisis-related social protection remain nascent policy options. Since 2018, governments and NGOs in Indonesia have ambitiously implemented various cash-transfer programs to ensure access to food and broader human security in disaster responses and pandemics. This chapter asks: (1) What are the impacts of COVID-19 on food access, especially for vulnerable groups in disaster-induced displacement communities? (2) How have government social protection ‘baskets’ helped to prevent hunger and famine during COVID-19 in Indonesia? (3) How do government and NGO interventions for COVID-19 empower affected communities living in transitional shelters? This research combines desk review, policy content analysis, and 69 qualitative interviews to explore the role of social protection, especially cash-transfer programs, in protecting and empowering disaster survivors during the COVID-19 crisis between March 2020 and March 2022. Two programs stood out in providing the most potent combination of cash transfer programs to ensure protection and empowerment: the long-term social protection-related cash transfer from the Ministry of Social Affairs and the quick adaptation of the existing Village Fund mechanism to partially provide cash transfers. Government’s cash transfer can help by scaling-up coverage and targeting broader communities nationwide to ensure social protection. Despite interventions being smaller in scale, NGO cash transfer programs often come in a package that involves participation and empowerment, including education and training of the most vulnerable communities. The findings also suggest that, even with Indonesia’s relatively successful intervention to mitigate potential hunger and food insecurity during COVID-19, the basic feature of the Indonesian social protection policy is equality and not equity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Security and Empowerment in Asia
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Pandemic
EditorsMely Caballero-Anthony, Mine Yoichi, Sachiko Ishikawa
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Chapter3
Pages50-77
Number of pages28
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781003430742
ISBN (Print)9781032554433
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2023

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