Jakarta. European Union, or EU, has rolled out financial support of 1,647,000 euros, or around $2 million, for I-Cope — a Covid-19 pandemic response project dedicated to vulnerable children and families run by a Christian humanitarian agency Wahana Visi Indonesia, or WVI.
According to EU Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam Vincent Piket, the pandemic affects health and has wrecked family welfare, with people losing their job in the aftermath. The pandemic also worsens the gap between the haves and have-nots.
With school closures, the poorest children are least likely to live in good home-learning circumstances and have a reliable internet connection.
"Marginalized communities are the hardest-hit in a crisis. Confinement [due to social distancing] increases the risk of poor nutrition among children. Their close exposure to domestic violence increases their anxiety and stress. It also reduces access to vital family and care services," Vincent told an online conference on Wednesday.
This dire situation prompted the EU to support WVI's I-Cope.
The 24-month project will help upscale Covid-19 preventive measures and improve family welfare. They will address the needs of 12,000 vulnerable groups, including children, women, elderly and disabled people, who are at higher risk of Covid-19 transmission and heavily impacted by its socio-economic impact.
"Around 1.1 million people can benefit from this project. The EU is doing all it can to combat the health crisis at home, but we are also reaching out to help our partner countries, including Indonesia. This is because of our fundamental solidarity with emerging countries, and we want to make sure we are getting out of this pandemic together," Vincent said.
I-Cope will focus on 90 villages in six municipalities and districts, namely Jakarta, Surabaya, Southwest Sumba, and East Sumba in East Nusa Tenggara, and Ternate and North Halmahera in North Maluku.
"WVI chose Jakarta and Surabaya as they suffer the most confirmed cases, whereas the others are remote areas that have limited access to resources and information," WVI national director Doseba T. Sinay said.
According to Doseba, I-Cope's short-term goal is ramping up health workers' preparedness against Covid-19 by providing protective personal equipment (PPE).
As for the midterm, I-Cope aims to support sustainable livelihood recovery through microeconomic initiatives and increase access to social security. Affected communities will receive cash vouchers.
The program will also train six civil organizations (CSOs) in the target regions on financial management, hygiene and sanitation, communication of Covid-19 risks, mental health and psychosocial support, and combating misinformation and social stigma. WVI hopes this training can help these CSOs to address the pandemic better.
"With this collaborative spirit in preventing Covid-19 and improving family welfare, we can help minimize the pandemic impact on the children's future and development," Doseba said.
I-Cope is only a part of larger financial support from the EU to Indonesia in the fight against Covid-19. Along with its member states, the EU has raised around 200 million euros to help Indonesia combat the pandemic through its global recovery program, Team Europe.
"The EU is preparing with this money a large grant to accompany major loans by German development bank KfW to support teaching hospitals in South Sulawesi and East Java. The EU also provides 20 million euros for the World Health Organization's regional crisis response program in Southeast Asia," Vincent said.