Indonesia has the highest COVID-19 caseload in all Southeast Asia. More than 4.23 million infections were reported nationwide to the end of 2021, and over 143,000 deaths. Only 22% of the population has been vaccinated, and local governments lack capacity to respond in the most hard-hit provinces.
The World Health Organization predicts an increase in case numbers, likely in outer-lying provinces and islands due to low vaccination rates, easing of movement restrictions, weak community observance of health protocols, and the gradual reopening of schools.
It’s estimated that 2.8 million Indonesians have fallen into poverty due to the pandemic. Indicators relating to livelihoods, food security and gender-based violence have also deteriorated dramatically since 2020.
In response, UnitingWorld is working as part of the ‘CAN DO’ Consortium (Church Agencies Network – Disaster Operations) to provide health messaging, increase vaccine education and create opportunities to restore lost income.
Our partner the Protestant Christian Church in Bali, for example, will distribute emergency cash transfers to over 500 households, as well as provide small business training and thousands of chickens to kickstart new businesses. The programs have been designed by our partners in local communities to particularly target vulnerable groups including women, elderly people and those with disabilities.
Supported by the Australian Government, the project will include psychosocial support and referrals for those experiencing mental ill-health or domestic violence as a by-product of the pandemic. Monitoring and evaluation of the project will be rigorous, with the network learning from each other to increase impact right across Indonesia. Please pray for our partners as they enter their third year of emergency COVID-19 activities. They’re exhausted, many have lost family and friends, and are deeply appreciate our love, prayer and financial support.