Indonesians show generosity in crowdfunding initiatives to fight COVID-19

Posted by on 24 Maret 2020


As many Indonesians have had to make peace with the disconcerting reality of self-quarantining to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease CIVID-19, members of the public have taken to digital crowdfunding to raise funds for various stakeholders involved in the mitigation of the global pandemic.

Crowdfunding platform Kitabisa has seen a surge in fundraising campaigns for COVID-19 mitigation since early this month, said Kitabisa spokesperson Fara Devara.

As of Monday, the site had recorded a total of 513 such campaigns initiated by public figures, NGOs and members of the general public, with total donations amounting to Rp 24 billion (US$1.4 million), she said.

“Every fundraising campaign has different targets to reach. The #SalingJaga community movement, for example, has managed to raise over Rp 1.2 billion of its Rp 2 billion target,” Fara told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Fara referred to a popular campaign on Kitabisa that aims to provide financial support to those who are affected by or are particularly vulnerable to the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 at a neighborhood level. 

The campaign especially aims to raise funds for informal workers "who don't have the privilege of working from home", such as app-based motorcycle taxi drivers, peddlers and traditional market vendors, as well as poor families.

The funds they raise will be used to purchase, among other things, staple foods, masks, hand sanitizers and other protective equipment, according to the information on the campaign page.

Fara went on to say that a number of campaigns had been successful in meeting their targets, while several others had surpassed them.

“A fan club of the national soccer team has raised Rp 104 million, surpassing its original target of Rp 100 million,” Fara said. 

Digital crowdfunding seems to appeal to millennials – often comically stereotyped as a generation of apathetic individuals – as they have been among the most prominent fundraisers on the platform amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A campaign titled “Millennials Unite to Help COVID-19 Health Workers” kick-started by Syafi Djohan had raised nearly half of its Rp 100 million target as of Monday afternoon.

Fara went on to say that some funds collected through Kitabisa would be used to purchase medical supplies, including protective health gear, and food items that would then be distributed to designated referral centers for COVID-19 and health facilities across the country.

Meanwhile, other portions of the funds would be distributed to low-income families, as well as workers in the informal sector who have experienced financial difficulties due to the health emergency. The funds would be distributed through local communities and NGOs, she said.

A portion of the donation would also be used to support the sterilization of public spaces, such as houses of worship.

“All funds will be distributed under direct supervision from Kitabisa,” Fara said.

The COVID-10 pandemic has put a massive strain on Indonesia’s healthcare system, with reports of inadequate medical supplies and the deaths of hospital workers as patient numbers continue to surge.

As of Monday, Indonesia had recorded 579 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 49 fatalities.