Tropenbos Indonesia: adjusting activities due to covid-19

Tropenbos Indonesia: adjusting activities due to covid-19

Indonesia - 17 April, 2020

Since the government appealed for social distancing and later implemented the PSBB (Large-Scale Social Restrictions), Tropenbos Indonesia (TI) has followed these appeal and regulation with full awareness and has fully participated in the efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19). Tropenbos Indonesia staff in Bogor currently work from home, and field staff in the worksite in Gunung Tarak Landscape make some adjustments in their activities to facilitate village communities.

While continuing to pay close attention to the progress of the situation related to covid-19, facilitation through various activities that are usually carried out through intense encounters with communities/villagers, as well as coordination and collaboration with partners and other institutions from the government agencies, private sector, and other NGOs/CSOs are now replaced by online communication or mobile connection. Supervision/monitoring of ongoing activities in field is still carried out in restrictions by TI staff/partners who happen to be local people. Some planned activities that cannot be conducted online including FGDs, workshops, and training are now postponed until situation possible.

Meanwhile, a number of study analysis as well as reporting of conducted surveys will be continued and the resulted reports will be enriched with a variety of publication of project activities, study results, or guideline of research methodologies that have been tested. The ongoing data processing involves communication with related stakeholders especially with the village government, such as in the data processing of participatory boundary mapping and natural resource identification in Mekar Raya Village, Ketapang. However, Tropenbos Indonesia has postponed various meetings and capacity building that have been formerly planned, such as an FGD on participatory mapping, village deliberation, and various training until the government gives the green light.

Communities in the villages facilitated by Tropenbos Indonesia generally understand the situation related to covid-19. Most of the villagers have enough understanding on the issue because they have received information from village officials who have been assigned to carry out socialization directly to their houses. They also received an appeal from the police and puskesmas (health facility) to avoid public gathering and stay at home except for important and urgent matters. Almost every village has formed a special task-force team to carry out strict supervision to guests of the village, including the enforcement of 14 quarantine-days for incoming people, and any sales persons are temporarily banned from entering villages. However, for the community who have made no contacts with outsiders, activities within the village itself still continue as usual. People still go to their fields and gardens, and take forest products such as bamboo shoots, honey, rattan or pandanus for handicrafts.

According to the official data taken from the Acceleration Task Force to control covid-19 in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, where TI worksite is located, there is 1 covid-19 patient at the moment (data on 13 April 2020). There are also 6 people isolated in the hospital, 2 isolated at home, and 124 with a status of ODP (people under monitoring). The Ketapang government has allocated a former company office in Delta Pawan that is strategic and far from the settlement as the shelter and isolation place for ODP, PDP (patients under surveillance) and patients with confirmed covid-19.

Until today, the vaccine for covid-19 which cases broke out for the first time in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China at the end of 2019 has not been found, although death tolls throughout the world continue to rise. On 13 April 2020, the United Nations Health Organization (WHO) made a statement that under its coordination, a group of experts from various backgrounds are currently fighting to develop a vaccine that can fight the virus. While waiting for the vaccine to be ready, the experts expressed their appreciation for the support and intervention of the community in the efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and in protecting the community, including vulnerable groups.

In Indonesia to date (as of 16 April 2020), the Acceleration Task Force to control covid-19 has recorded 5,516 positive cases with new positive cases confirmed to reach almost 300 people per day in the past week. Of that number 496 people died and 548 people were cured. This figure is predicted to still increase. The government has announced the national disaster status and cut the Transfers to Regions and Village Funds (TKDD) in an amount of Rp94 trillion to tackle this issue. The government has also set up a hotline service 119 to receive community reports related to covid-19 and collaborate with 20 telemedicine service providers to help community arranging self-isolation when necessary (www.atensi.or.id/#members). The public can also keep abreast of the latest update on covid-19 through the link https://www.covid19.go.id/.