Empowered from the Village: Cadres of DESBUMI Support the COVID-19 Task Force Team in Indramayu

23 June 2020
Author: Amron Hamdi

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has also been felt by Indonesian migrant workers. Because of quarantine measures that apply to countries of placement some migrant workers have chosen or were forced to return to their home regions. The Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) noted that as of 29 March, around 33,503 migrant workers had returned to Indonesia. These migrant workers face a loss of income and are also occasionally negatively stigmatised in their hometowns.

But in Juntinyuat Village, Indramayu, this did not happen. “From the beginning, we have urged the public to be calm and not panic,” said Diyana, a local Villages that Care about Migrant Workers (DESBUMI) cadre. Diyana, who is also a member of the COVID-19 Task Force, said that migrant workers returning from countries such as Qatar, Australia, and America stayed calm and followed the guidelines to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. “Together with the village government, we built a monitoring post to help prevent the spread of the virus. This post monitors the arrival of citizens from outside the region, “Diyana continued.

Members of the DESBUMI community are actively involved in monitoring arrivals and reporting them to the COVID-19 response team to prevent COVID-19 from entering the village. DESBUMI community members are also involved in the production and distribution of masks in the village area. In an effort to maintain the cleanliness of the village area, the COVID-19 Task Force sprays disinfectant once a week and distributes handwashing soap packages to every mosque.

DESBUMI is a village-based model — initiated by MAMPU Partner Migrant CARE — which aims to help migrant workers access information about safe migration. Through DESBUMI, migrant workers receive training related to workers’ rights, case handling, post-migration skills training, and alternative income sources.