Tips and tricks for giving aid in COVID-19 times
Indonesia is yet again in a time of need. Indonesia has known several (natural) disasters over the past years and as Westerlaken foundation / Yayasan Bali Bersih we have been working on emergency relief related to the eruption of Gunung Agung on Bali, the earthquakes in Lombok and the tsunami in Palu.
Hereby we want to share some tips on how to give emergency relief most effectively.
Where are funds going?
Donators want to know where funds are going. Make sure that you are a foundation or have a foundation status, so the donated money can be followed. This protects you and the donator. If you do not have a foundation and you want to give emergency relief within a short time, join another organization that is working on the ground already. Explain what your plans are and how you want to fund it. Many organizations will be happy to cooperate with you.
Who to work with?
Make sure you work with local stakeholders that know the community well, for example village elders, local government workers or priests. Be open in the fact that you need to be able to trust them and that you will do checks randomly. In that way there is understanding from both sides.
Also; keep contact with other organizations. See what they are doing, where they are doing things and share experiences. They might work in the same area as you do, which could potentially mean that one community gets double help, while another one does not get help at all.
What to give?
Ask local stakeholders what is needed and in which form. When we were asked for mosquito repellant after the earthquakes in Lombok in 2018 firstly, we bought aerosol sprays. As people were sleeping outside (as they did not dare to sleep inside) the aerosols had no use, but lotion and incense were needed. If you do not ask thoroughly, mistakes will be made.
As foundation we recommend not to give cash money. The flow of cash once out of your own hands is hard to follow. This could disrupt trust and success of the project.
Make sure to buy locally as much as possible (so the local community also benefits and you do not cause a bankruptcy of a local shop) but also be aware of what is available. You might need to bring things from other areas. Buying in bulk might help to reduce prices, but also might reduce quality of products, especially with perishables.
While we are at it, try to think of the environment, reduce the use of plastic and lengthy transports.
While you are helping out the local community, do not hesitate to ask people that you are helping how this is benefitting their life and how long your help can last. In this way you can estimate better how your work needs to be continued. Make sure to have a plan, not to be someone that gives hope and then disappears.
Who to give?
Who to help is always difficult. Who are you to decide someone is underprivileged? Is someone that you see smoking a cigarette addict or did he just get a cigarette offered by someone and is he now reducing stress just for this moment. Is someone with a tattoo a money waster, or is he a tattoo artist in a local tattoo parlor working on a no work no pay basis but still has 3 children mouths to feed at home? Is somebody wearing a gold necklace rich or is he keeping all he has on his body to protect it?
To designate who needs help, work with local community leaders, local government workers, priests, etc. Work with a group of informants, to rule out anyone gets more favored than others. Create social control. Also do think about gender, religion and other demographic factors.
When handing out packages, make sure receivers can identify themselves, so you know that help goes to people that you have identified with your local stakeholders. Ask for KTP’s
When giving aid, think about your own safety. Create norms for social distancing, educate at the same time. Try to recognize signs of abuse, domestic violence and the position of the child. When you have concerns, discuss this with your local stakeholders.
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